‘Strengthen relations with MPs to enhance gender equality legislation’
The Executive Director of Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCed), Esther Tawiah, has advised gender-based civil society organisations to strengthen their relations with Members of Parliament (MPs) to enhance gender equality policies and legislation.
She explained that gender issues were cross-cutting and as such there was the need to expand the advocacy beyond the Gender Caucus to other Committees of Parliament and must not assume such a committee would understand all issues on gender.
“This is the mistake a lot of us engage in gender activities make by assuming because there is a Gender Caucus of Parliament they should be able to understand all gender issues but weneed to mainstream gender issues at all the various committees of parliament since gender issues cut across all the facets of society,” Ms Tawiah stressed.
She gave the advice at the maiden seminar on ‘Gender Advocacy in Parliament’, organised by the Parliamentary Network Africa (PN Africa), a civil society parliamentary monitoring organisation working across Africa at Parliament House, in Accra, to promote open Parliament.
Ms Tawiah challenged civil society organisations engaged in gender activities to understand parliamentary processes in order to be able to make impact in terms of advocacy and sustain their engagement with MPs to ensure better parliamentary activism.
Sammy Obeng, Executive Director, PN Africa, observed that even though women make up majority of the Ghanaian population yet their voices and that of girls were under-represented. He however, conceded the situation seemed to have global dimension, which trickled down to Parliaments worldwide.
Citing an instance, he noted that the number of women in Parliament worldwide was about 25.5 per cent, meaning quarter of women world over were women saying “parliamentary statistics show there is growth in women representation from what happened in the past but in Ghanaian contest, only 40 out of the 275 MPs are women, constituting about 15 per cent of all the members, which is far less than global average of 25.5 per cent.
“The Inter-Parliamentary Union, the global association of all Parliaments, which stated it will take not less than 50 years to have any dream of gender parity in Parliaments worldwide then we can appreciate how long it may take to have any semblance of what we are looking for in Ghanaian contest,” Mr Obeng lamented.