Vote massively for women in assembly elections - Otiko

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The National Women Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Madam Otiko Djaba, has observed that the upcoming District Assembly Elections give the nation a brilliant opportunity to increase the representation of women at the local governance level.

Madam Djaba has, therefore, urged the general voting population and stakeholders to canvass and vote massively for all female contestants.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, she said women leaders in governance and politics were an endangered species in Ghana currently, as women’s political participation and representation remained abysmally low.

She said, for example, that in the 2001 assembly elections, out of 4,583 elected councillors, only 341 were women while in 2006 the male candidates were 4,244 whereas the females were only 478; the percentage of females elected was 27 per cent.

She further said in 2009 women constituted 3.8 per cent of elected assembly members and out of the 138 DCEs only eight (5.8 per cent) were women and the 2011 UN report pegged women elected plus those appointed at 10 per cent.

According to her, the Electoral Commission’s provisional figures for 2015 gave the total number of aspirants as 19,527, comprising 15,148 (77.6 per cent) male contestants and 4,379 (22.4 per cent) women.

In Parliament currently, out of 275 members, only 30 (11 per cent) are women.

“These figures indicate that the progress of women in decision making and leadership has been slow in Ghana,” she stated.

Madam Djaba pointed out that as a nation that was so quick to flaunt its democratic credentials in Africa and the world at large, Ghana ought to promote women’s access to leadership and decision-making positions at all levels and sectors of governance.

She asserted that the ‘can do spirit’ of daring leadership provided by Yaa Asantewaas and Hawa Yakubus was in every female Ghanaian.

She said with the needed support and political will, Ghanaian women had demonstrated that they were just as capable, if not more than men, of making valuable contributions to governance and providing leadership.

As a nation, Madam Djaba said, “we do ourselves a serious disservice by continuing to indulge in tokenism when it comes to women’s involvement in leadership and governance to portray women as charlatans, decoration and to pay lip-service to the contributions and involvement of women in decision making.

Sometimes, she pointed out, the feeling in our male dominant society is that ‘“let us accommodate and or indulge women as they are the weaker sex; let us give them a few positions to shut them up; let us do them this favour, by appointing a few to ministerial positions, as District Chief Executives; let us give them membership on boards and Chief Justice Georgina Wood and Lauretta Lamptey at CHRAJ to get the women out of our way and then we can pat ourselves on the shoulder that we are emancipating our women, we are trying hard.”

She said women of Ghana appreciated the strides but insisted. “We deserve better representation, particularly because the numbers of women in leadership positions are woefully inadequate and not representative of the numerical strength of women which is close to 52 per cent of our population.”

She said “the Ghanaian woman is strong, and has demonstrated over the years, resilience, commitment, loyalty and abundant love and sacrifice for her children, family and country and that “the Ghanaian woman, in spite of her challenges, is the heartbeat and the engine of growth.”

Source: 
Graphic Online
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