Discussants at a two-day conference have lamented the low representation of young women in political positions.
According to them, in Sub Saharan Africa women were less than one quarter of parliamentarians.
In Ghana they said out of the 37 women in parliament, only three are young, representing 8.5 per cent of them.
They claimed that countries like Nigeria, Liberia and Mali have no representation of young women in parliament.
Speaking at the West African Young Women in Politics Forum, Dr Comfort Asare, Director of the Gender Department at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection said young women were continually marginalised from political processes and encounter problems in accessing political spaces in the Sub-region.
She said though women’s participation was critical for sustaining inclusive and equitable development and realising the values of democracy, they were often ignored.
She indicated that African youth between the ages of 18-35 years report of political engagement as compared to their elders, including their candidature in national and local elections.
According to Dr Asare, though political participation of young people in Africa has been low in the past decade, trends indicate that political participation of young people had largely been dominated by young men in comparison with young women.
She was of the view that young women in politics were marginalised because of their young age and lack of experience.
“As a result, they are often ostracised, face violence and are publicly criticised, making their transition into politics fraught with many challenges,” she stated.
She said young women were also confronted with issues such as lack of public and political party support, funding and resources, lack of capacity building opportunities, sexual harassment and violence, lack of confidence, limited opportunities for mentorship with experienced women leaders.
She said the participation of young women in politics would ensure fair representation in society, elected office and could impact the policy agenda.
Speaking on the role of Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), a non-governmental organisation, the Executive Director, Ms Esther Tawiah, said the organisation aimed at empowering women and the youth for sustainable development in communities. She said it was established in May 2011 as an independent, non-for profit, research and advocacy organisation.
Ms Danielle Agyemang, Project Officer of World Movement for Democracy (USA) assured of her outfit’s support to young women aspirants in the quest to attain political positions in the country.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY