Government has been asked to reactivate the Women in Local Governance Fund to support women logistically to stand for elections at the local level.
The Empowerment for Life Programme, which made the call, also demanded that government set aside 50 per cent of the 30% allocation for the appointment of persons into the assemblies for women.
This was contained in statement issued by Mr Fuseini Abdul Rahim, Technical Advisor, Advocacy and Gender of the Empowerment for Life Programme, and copied to Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Friday.
The statement was in commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), which is on the theme: “Better For Balance”.
The IWD is marked globally on March 08, every year to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women to the development of the world.
The statement lamented the poor representation of women in especially political and elective offices in the country reiterating that the reactivation of Women in Local Governance Fund would help reverse the trend.
It emphasized that “it is crucial and ultimately important to bring to light the abysmal representation and participation of women in district and local level governance structures” calling for a balance in this regard.
It said “We believe that women’s political participation is central to democratic governance since more than half of the world’s population are women and these numbers are even more pronounced in Ghana where women constitute 51.4% of the working age group”.
It said: “However, Ghanaian women still occupy lower status as compared to men in areas of political decision-making. For Instance, in the 2016 District Assembly elections, a total of 18,938 persons made up of 17,783 men and 1,155 women participated and less than half of the figure was elected.”
The statement said “The situation is even more pronounced in the Empowerment for Life Programme Districts, where at Saboba District, out of 25 member representation, only two are women. Out of 39 Assembly Members in the Savelugu District, only three are women. In the Nanton District, two women out of 28 members are represented in the Assembly. One woman out of 25 members is in the Kumbungu District, eight women out of 48 members are in the Karaga District and one woman out of 29 members is in the Mion District.”
It said “The situation highlights to a greater extent the levels of seclusion and unfavourable social and political climate that inhibits women’s active participation and involvement in district and community level governance.
It said “Many barriers and discriminatory practices hinder women’s ability and interest to actively participate in the process of District level governance. Paramount among which include culture and tradition, women’s multiple burdens, resource constraints and lack of affirmative policies and actions.”
The statement, therefore, demanded that the Affirmative Action Bill be passed to grant equal opportunities to men and women in the country.