‘Monetisation of politics impeding women’s participation’

The monetisation of politics in Africa is impeding the effective partici­pation of women in political and electoral processes.

Many women do not have the ability to raise the needed capital to fund their political activities.

Ayisha Osori, the Director of Open Society Foundations, a civil society organisation, made the observation at a two-day con­ference organised by the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa at the University of Ghana on ‘Increasing Women’s Political Presence in West Africa.’

It sought to offer insights into understanding political presence, power, representation in different contexts and how political practice can be expressed in those contexts in different ways.

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Madam Osori said bankrollers of political parties and activists were mainly men and thus, made it difficult for women to overcome monetary barriers and there was the need to remove all forms of barriers that discouraged women from actively participating in politi­cal activities.

“Generally, women are at the bottom of the economic pyramid, as long as politics is about money, then how can women who are politically disadvantaged suddenly become politicians where we need money to win in politics.

“In spite of that I encourage women to join political parties and become delegates, not necessarily to take political positions, but be involved in the democratic and governance processes and not feel tainted by politics since their in­volvement in the political environ­ment will present opportunity for them to demonstrate good exam­ple of their values and principles,” Madam Osori advised.

Professor Frimpong Ofori, the Provost of College of Humanities, University of Ghana, noted that in formal political spaces, wom­en were poorly represented as compared to those in developed countries.

He cited data from the In­ter-Parliamentary Union which showed while Rwanda topped not just Africa but globally in terms of women in Parliaments with 54.8 per cent of its parliamentarians being women in 2021, Ghana’s rate was 14.5 per cent, Burkina Faso at 6.3 per cent, and Liberia at an even lower 3.3 per cent.

“Women were more visible in traditional political spaces where chiefs ruled alongside queen mothers however, a study by the Centre for Democratic Develop­ment-Ghana in 2022 found it cost about US$100 million to effectively and efficiently fund presidential campaign in the country.

“The study, which was con­ducted in four out of the 16 regions, also found an amount of US$693,000, the equivalent of GH¢4 million, was required to prosecute parliamentary cam­paign,” Prof. Ofori lamented.

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