As part of research conducted by both Abantu For Development and Christian Aid have launched a report on Women?s representation in positions of power at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

According to the report, there has been low participation of women in local governance at all levels in Ghana.

The report entitled, ?Research Report on Accountability To Women?s Rights & Gender Equality In Local Governance, The Local Governance Age Research?, indicated that structural inequalities, unfair ethno-cultural and religious practices, patriarchal family arrangements, lack of support and an unfriendly political climate have been identified as factors restricting women and other marginalized groups from political participation.

Recognizing that the participation of women in local government is not only a right but also an opportunity to influence local and national development, and based on the findings of the study, the Report recommended that at least 50 per cent of the appointed members of the District Assemblies should be females.

The report also recommended that the capacities of the few women in the Assemblies should be built such that their impact will encourage other women to stand for election.

Furthermore, the Report recommended that the capacities of the District Assemblies should also be built so as to be able to recognize the peculiar need of women in the design and implementation of policies to meet these needs.

Speaking at the news conference to officially launch the Report in Accra, Ms Magdalene Kannae, Head of Gender and Social Development Centre, Institute of Local Government Studies, described the Report as a working document that could be used to achieve gender equality in Ghana.

She reiterated the need for capacity building for Assembly women as a means of empowering them to make an impact in the Assemblies.

Ms Kannae said gender equality should be achieved through the institution and use of affirmative action measures.
Christian Aid, which is part of a wider movement for social justice, works globally for a profound change that eradicates the causes of poverty, striving to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all, regardless of faith or nationality.

As an agency of its churches in Britain and Ireland, mandated to work on relief, development and advocacy for poverty eradication,? Christian Aid, Ghana provides practical and effective assistance, where need is great, and tackles the effects of poverty as well as its root causes.

For his part, Nafisatu Yussif, research fellow at ?ABANTU, said the organization is a registered NGO established in 1991 by African women based in Europe to enhance the capacity of African people, in particular women, to participate in development and increase the participation of African women in the political and economic structures of their countries.

She hinted that ABANTU exists to build the capacity of women to participate in decision-making at all levels, to influence policies from a gender perspective and to address inequalities and injustices in social relations.

Nafisatu lamented that it is a network of people who believe that gender disparity is an injustice, contributes to poverty and is a major hindrance to development.

The research she noted, examined the different functions of the District Assemblies, including asset management, revenue management and social accountability, from a gender perspective.

Nafisatu explained that the main objective of the Launch was to create a platform for the discussion of key issues in the Report for the way forward in ensuring a deepened accountability to women?s rights and gender equality at the local level.

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