Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, has called on stakeholders to strengthen policies to empower more women to take up leadership roles in local government administration.
She said most women faced various challenges within the political system,that invariably affected them negatively, and therefore charged stakeholders, especially those into governance and women empowerment to align their programmes to address the issues.
Hajia Mahama made the call during a two-day capacity building and training of female Assembly Members, organised by the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) in Tamale, aimed at building the capacities of women and to encourage them to take up leadership positions to influence decisions that affect them.
The event funded by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) and supported by UKaid brought together participants from the Northern, Savanna, North East, Upper East and Upper West Regions to enhance women participation in politics.
The event had as its theme: “Advancing women’s political participation and leadership within the local government system”.
Hajia Mahama stated that entrenched socio-cultural beliefs and practices, negative naming and shaming of women who gather the courage to engage in politics or assume leadership positions and inadequate economic empowerment, were factors militating against the development of women, and should be addressed to promote women to leadership positions to enhance the country’s development aspirations.
She stated that the number of Assembly Women elected in 2006 was 478 which represented 10.1 percent out of a total elected members of 4,732,and indicated that it reduced to 412 representing 7.95 percent out of elected members of 6,093 in 2010.
According to her, the number further reduced to 282 representing 4.65 percent of elected women Assembly members across the country.
Hajia Mahama used the occasion to launch RAFELA-GHANA Chapter, which is a French word and meaning the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa as part of the event.
RAFELA-GHANA Chapter works towards advancing the concerns of women at the heart of local government policies and strategies to ensure the participation of women in decision-making within government institutions, strengthening women economic empowerment and advocating the promotion of women leaders at the community level.
Hajia Mariam Iddrisu, Sagnerigu Municipal Chief Executive and also the President of NALAG called for zero tolerance on issues that inhibit the development of women, and campaign for cities to overcome street children phenomenon.
She urged stakeholders to put measures in place to create awareness on women participation in politics through capacity building, coaching programmes and role modelling engagements to enlighten them on how to assume and manage leadership positions.
Madam Joyce Ekuful, West Africa Regional Programme Officer of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, charged women within the assemblies to resist challenges that confront them as women in order to close the wide gap of gender inequality in the country.