In Ghana, women representation in local governance has continuously remained very low; as they failed to attain the 30% UN recommended minimum threshold in representation in the district assemblies.

The highest number of the elected women in the district assemblies was in the year 2006 when 478 were elected out a total membership of 4732.

Following the 2015 local government elections, only 282 women got elected into District Assemblies out of a total number of 6061 members nationwide.

This occurred as a result of the failure to address the systemic barriers that that make it difficult for women to contribute their own life experiences and their voice.

In three weeks’, Ghana is scheduled to elect a new set of District Assembly members who will serve another four years as required by the 1992 Constitution.

December 2019 Local government elections offer another opportunity for Ghana to deepen efforts to promote gender equality and sensitivity in developmental processes. Many countries including several in Africa are acting decisively to ensure women’s equal participation and representation in decision making.

It is in this regard, ABANTU for Development, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has been working tirelessly together with Star Ghana to help address these multiple structural, functional and other factors making it difficult for women to contribute their quota to decision making.

More so, these efforts are in direct response to the globally agreed conventions and instruments including Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5). That mandate all states to act resolutely to accelerate the increase of women’s participation as a critical component of democratic governance and sustainable development.

Mrs. Magdalene Kannae, Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) made this known at a press conference organised by Abantu for Development on increasing women’s inclusion in the 2019 District level elections.

Delivering a presentation on the theme: “Making a case for more elected and appointed women into the District Assemblies 2019” Mrs. Magdalene Kannae, noted that Ghana’s decentralisation system has given District Assemblies a pivotal role as the basic units of local governance that is meant to promote accountability in terms of facilitating equal opportunities for all.

This she said, expectations have been that equal participation as an approach would become central leading to parity towards real democratisation of local policy making mechanisms.

More vigorous initiatives would be undertaken in terms of providing openings to equal participation prior and post elections to ensure power-sharing and control of local development agendas. Elections are a cornerstone of democracy.

While Ghana’s past local government elections ordinary attracted less passion, we must use our voices, positions, connections, and ability to work towards addressing the existing inequalities and imbalances in representation.

Therefore we would expect that within the upcoming electoral process, Ghana will focus on initiatives that facilitate the inclusion of expanded diversity of experiences in ways that are democratic.

That the electorate, in casting their votes will consider the attainment of parity in district assemblies as necessary in strengthening democratic culture and allowing for a diversity of opinions for consensus building.

According to Mrs. Magdalene Kannae, the state will be more robust in appointing more within the government’s 30% allowance while the nation awaits the early passage of the Affirmative Action Law.

However, ABANTU, therefore, called on the media to use their media various media to use their various platforms to give priority to actions aimed at supporting women’s increased representation in district assemblies since gender is the surest path to sustainable development.

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh

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