Government has been called upon to, as matterof urgency, prioritise gender responsiveness and sensitivity in all up-coming ministerial, boards, MMDCE and other public appointments.
According to ABANTU for Development and the Women Manifesto Coalition (WMC), both women-focused groups, this would ensure increased women’s participation and empowerment in the country’s growing democracy as enshrined in the global human rights instruments, Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and other national laws.
In a joint statement issued in Accra on Monday, they said prioritising gender sensitivity in the appointments of public officials would ensure the government’s agenda to provide equality and access to opportunity for all citizens.
It stated that the low representation of marginalised groups, especially women, not only limited the diversity of legislative bodies like parliament, but also posed a challenge to the provision of societal benefits central to true democracy.
“As we reflect on the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, we are once again disappointed in the perennial historic failure of elections to deliver equity and inclusiveness in Ghana’s decision-making spaces, both local and national,” they said
According to them, the 40 women parliamentarians in a 275-member house represent only 14.5 per cent of the membership, an abysmal increase of 0.7 per cent over the seventh parliament’s 13.8 per cent.
This, the statement stated,was clearly unreflective of the demographic environment and the increased levels of women’s commitment to engage in the electoral process.
It explained that the evidence for this was in the phenomenal numbers of females who turned up to be registered as voters for the 2020 elections, which were far more than those of male voters.
It expressed worry that the current rate of increment in the number of women elected to Parliament in elections was highly unlikely to help Ghana attain the minimum United Nations (UN) recommended threshold of 30 per cent for women’s effective engagement in decision making in the next several decades.
According to the statement, the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections were Ghana’s eighth general elections since the introduction of constitutional democracy in 1992 and so should have stood as a testimony to the country’s growth and maturity in representative democracy.
It said the elections should have facilitated greater opportunities for the marginalised, especially women, to deepen accountability to women’s rights, gender equality and social justice.
“The world around us is growing more disposed to the expansion of democratic ideals and greater equality. ABANTU and the WMC acknowledge the many challenges and barriers that women candidates have to contend with in a bid to equally participate in and contribute towards national development. We insist that women’s equal participation in politics and decision-making can lead to a qualitative difference in the country’s governance in terms of inclusiveness and equitable management and distribution of national resources,” it stressed.
In furtherance, the statement gave assurance that ABANTU and the WMC would continue to advocate and campaign in the post-election 2020 period for the immediate passage of the Affirmative Action Law (AAL) as a concrete mechanism towards the removal of gender imbalances.
The AAL, it said, would chart the way forward in the implementation of global, continental and regional commitments in fulfilment of women’s rights and gender equality.