WOMEN have been encouraged to partake in the politics of their countries over the years and in Ghana the campaign to vote the woman in your constituency is rekindled in election years. As expected the campaign is in full flight this year with gender-based civil society organisations (CSOs) calling on voters to vote for women in their constituencies for Parliament.
WIVES of presidential candidates have also bought into the idea and are vigorously campaigning for their husbands to be elected to power. This is a confirmation that the traditional and cultural practices in most African countries which sidelined women in politics is eroding from society.
PREVIOUSLY, women contesting political positions faced intimidation, harassment and sometimes violence. Traditional nations do not consider politics to be ?women?s work? and elected women have been described as ?wanton? or their husbands as ?emasculate.?
DESPITE these challenges, scholars have argued that their representation in the politics of African countries can help deepen the democracy in their countries. Women are said to be central to the new breed of politicians who offer Africa the opportunity for a deeply rooted, uncorrupted democracy.
WORLDWIDE efforts to promote women in decision-making roles gained prominence in the 1980s and 1990s and was further propelled by the proposed 30% representation of women in national politics in the mid 1990s. ?Women are not traditionally seen as authoritative figures, they tend to go about politics in a ?bottom-up? fashion by building their constituencies? confidence in them and not by?relying on money to buy their support,? it is said.
THOUGH it has been expected that political parties that embark on such options at the national level would benefit from it, there is no documented evidence on such in Ghana. However, it can be said that certain women who played on such cards in their parties have benefited from it.
AND this realisation has led to the full participation of wives of presidential and vice presidential aspirants in the politics of the country. This venture is very laudable and Today wishes them well and hope they succeed in the various campaigns.
HOWEVER we do not buy into the opinion that women should be voted into Parliament based on their gender but on their competence and qualification for the position. Ghanaian voters must rigorously scrutinise all aspirants and select the best for their constituency; aspirants must be judged on their competence and not gender.
THAT is not to suggest Today has withdrawn support for women participating in the electoral process but to remind them of the need to step up their campaign and prove their competence for the various seats under contest. They should emulate competent women who had made impact on their society and prove that their competence supersedes their men contestants.
VOTERS are also reminded to vote on competence because the democracy of the country would be improved further with competent and able women. A vote for a competent woman is a vote to comprehensive change in society.