Involve Women Groups When Drafting Manifesto

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Spining

Political parties in the country have been advised to employ a consultative approach to their manifesto development to enable the participation of different interest groups including women.

According to the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan international organization advancing democracy worldwide, the consultative approach will encourage issues of importance of these groups to be addressed through policy proposals.

Announcing its preliminary findings and recommendations for the first of two assessments of gender inclusion in Ghana’s electoral and political framework ,the IRI delegation said although political party manifestoes contain proposals to address women’s issues, it is not done in a consultative manner.

“The methods for developing manifestoes differ from party to party but are not generally conducted through a consultative process. In addition, little effort has been made to educate the electorate about these policy proposals which has undermined political accountability,” they said.

Outlining its recommendations after a high level stakeholder assessment, the IRI team recommended that following the December 7 elections, Ghanaian civil society and political actors should commit to monitoring, training, supporting and encouraging women to join political parties to increase the number of women candidates, and ultimately parliamentarians.

“Civil society organizations and development partners should invest in projects that increase the capacity of women candidates to run issue-based, competitive campaigns.

Politicians should support capacity-building programs to ensure women parliamentarians are able to fulfill their legislative responsibilities while serving as effective representatives and role models,” they added.

Explaining the findings to an audience in Accra, the delegation indicated that while the government and civil society have taken steps towards improving the status of women in Ghana, women remain underrepresented in the decision-making and political structures in the country.

“In recent years, neither the number of women candidates nor parliamentarians has increased, and in some cases has trended downwards. Efforts to improve the quantity and capacities of women aspiring for office were undertaken very late in the current electoral cycle,” they said.

The indicated that the media has played a role in shaping voter attitudes of candidates throughout the pre-election period raising concerns over media content that has denigrated women leaders, candidates, voters and issues of concern to women.

They therefore recommended media outlets to prioritize gender-sensitive training for both men and women journalists while ensuring that deserving women are placed in key leadership positions to foster the gender agenda.

“There should be a group of female journalists that would support women empowerment especially in politics in the country,” they said.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchir/dailyguideafrica.com

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