Ms Victoria Hamah, the Executive Director of the Progressive Organisation for Women Advancement (POWA), has advocated for more women representation in the country’s political discourse for the attainment of gender equity.
Ms Hamah expressed concern about the sharp decline in women representation in government and parliament at the 2016 General Elections, adding that the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill would help address the pitfalls.
“The passage of the Affirmative Action Bill will bring women to the fore front of national life, particularly politics, and also signify a commitment towards social justice, political and economic democracy,” she added.
Ms Hamah said this in Accra at the inaugural POWA forum on the topic: “Why there are fewer women in politics”.
The forum to be held quarterly is aimed at creating a national consensus to achieve gender equity by placing the issue at the centre of national political dialogue.
The forum seeks to create a platform for stakeholders from all walks of life to discuss issues on women empowerment and lay emphasis on elective and representative politics as means of sparking the deeper and broader issues of gender equity.
She was of the view that the Affirmative Action Bill provides the space for social education and re-thinking as well as contributes in reshaping the public psyche about the potential of women in all spheres of life.
“It will motivate more women to stand up to the challenge of engaging in active public life, despite the cultural and social barriers; inspired by the example and experiences of other women,” she said.
Ms Hamah noted that there were fewer women in politics today not because of social and cultural barriers but due to the indifference of national leadership to women rights issues which have been place in the periphery of national life.
She said the progress and status of women was linked with the broad aspirations of all the ordinary and marginalized people in the country, stating that women have special needs and their condition at any time was the most accurate measure of national progress.
“Women empowerment has no substitute. Women are the bedrock of the families, our communities and our nation,” she noted.
She said there had been laudable projects mainly on reproductive right issues with respect to women empowerment since the 1995 Beijing Conference on women rights.
Ms Hamah noted that these initiatives were at the expense of the struggle for greater inclusiveness of women in the decision making process of the country and called on women get involve in active participation in national politics.
The forum was addressed by Ms Christine Churchur, the Board Chairperson of the Ghana National Gas Company Limited; Nana Oye-Lithur, former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection; and Prof. Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana.
Others were: Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso, Director of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College; and Dr Lawrence Tetteh, an International Evangelist.