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01.10.2008 Politics

Political parties urged to nominate more female candidates

By The Statesman

An appeal has been made to the government and the political parties in Ghana to review the electoral laws to ensure that all political parties present at least 40% of candidates as women, with the aim of achieving the African Union target of 50% by 2015.

This is to ensure that at least one executive appointment position is a woman and to establish women and local governance funds to give support to women political aspirants.

The call is in line with the policy guidelines set forth by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women—which calls for a quota system to increase women's participation in politics and decision making at all public and private levels.

Political parties were also urged to incorporate gender issues in their agenda, and to ensure that women participate in leadership on an equal basis with men.

In view of Articles 7 and 8 in the CEDAW convention, which deal with equality in political and public life at national and international levels, politicians have also been urged to train women in political education on party organization and confidence building, to maintain a database on their women members to identify those with potential for political office.

These were disclosed at a seminar to brief and sensitize media practitioners on Ghana's 3rd, 4th and 5th periodic reports to CEDAW and recommended actions, on Monday in Accra. The seminar forms part of Ghana's obligation to coordinate and ensure implantation of recommended actions by the MDAs and other stakeholders.

In a presentation delivered by the Director of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, Marian A. Tackie, it was indicated that, since the ratification of CEDAW by the government of Ghana in 1986 and its 1st and 2nd submission of the periodic reports in 1991, it furthered submitted its 3rd, 4th and 5th reports in 2005 and defended it in August 2007.

The Director pointed out that Ghana has been commended for taking a concrete legal, policy and administrative measures to implement the various articles of CEDAW, which include education and the promulgation of laws to address women's human rights.

However, the director said CEDAW committee also pointed out areas which need further action to ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

These areas include the reduction of high maternal mortality deaths in which 30% is as a result of unsafe abortion; issues of traditional practices like the female genital circumcision, and 'Trokosi'; as well as inequalities within family relations.

As a result, she noted that the government has taken a concrete measures to translate various conventions, treaties and protocols declarations and resolutions relating to gender equality and women and children's rights development into implementation policies.

The director revealed that the government lacks adequate financial resources to translate all its commitments into desired measurable results. 

However, she suggested that with the injection of more financial inflows from the UN system funding agencies, Ghana would be able to achieve its goals relating to gender equality and women empowerment.