Women participation in politics in the Upper West Region is increasing steadily as most of them have now braced up to campaign side by side with their men counterparts, Mrs. Kate Bob-Milliar, Regional Director of the Department of Women has said.
She said in 1998 District level elections, only three women were elected as Assembly Members, the number, which increased to 16 in the 2002 elections and further to 18 in the 2006 District level elections.
Mrs. Bob-Milliar, who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Wa on Monday said the figures indicated that women were now becoming assertive and responsive to their responsibilities in their communities and urged them to strive harder in the subsequent elections to increase the number of women in various Assemblies in the region.
She said, apart from several orientations and workshops which have equipped the women with courage and skills to take such positions, the creation of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has also buoyed them to venture into areas that were hitherto seen as the preserve of men.
The Regional Director said with the creation of the Ministry, donor organizations were now committed to the development of women than before, as they no longer entertained fears as to how their funds were to be used.
Mrs. Bob-Milliar said Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for instance has increased its budgetary allocation for the development of women in the region, whereas roles between the Ministry and the Department of women were now spelt out in clear terms.
She said women groups had from 2005 increased from 80 to a total of 170, which could be doubled by the end of 2007, due to the daily increment of women groups throughout the region.
The Director said they would this year invigorate all the women organizations, speed up educational programmes on orphans and widows in the region and venture into women mental health programmes to enhance the performance of women in the region.
She appealed to the police, Courts and all organizations that dispense justice to, as much as possible be sympathetic to girls anytime there were rape and defilement cases.
"We have never been satisfied with any of the rape and defilement cases as the suspects are always dealt with, with a lot of leniency," she added.