The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Ghana and Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) have condemned the spate of marginalization of Ghanaian women in leadership positions and called for effective affirmative actions to address the problem.
The two bodies admitted that there had been some levels of improvements in the number of women in leadership positions but noted that the gap was still huge considering the more than 50 per cent of women making up the country's population.
This was made known at a day's Regional Consultative Forum in Bolgatanga organised by FIDA Ghana, WiLDAF Ghana and the Hunger Project, Gender Centre and Coalition of Women in Governance.
It was under the theme; “We know Politics; Hearing the Voices of Women in the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary election”.
Mr David Atinga, Coordinator of FIDA-Ghana in charge of the Upper East Region said the forum was to collate views and concerns of women that needed to be addressed by politicians in the 2008 elections and afterwards so that could be held accountable after their stewardship.
He noted that unless the gender gap was bridged to allow women to articulate their needs to be addressed, Ghana's aim of achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 could be a mirage.
Mr Atinga said that out of the 10 Regional Ministers there was no woman with the Deputy Regional Ministers having seven men and three women.
He said the 35 chief directors had 29 men and six women with four women making to the total of 48 Ambassadors.
The Members of Council of State was made up of 22 men and three women and out of 230 Parliamentarians, 25 were women in 2005 with the 138 District Chiefs Executives having 126 males and 12 females.
He said none of the political parties had so far chosen a woman as the running mate and said women had the right under national and international laws to actively participate in politics like their male counterparts.
Madam Paulina Abayage, Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Women who presented a paper on the “Importance of Women in Decision Making,” advocated that a legislation that allows for 40 per cent quota for women in the decision making process must be passed.
She noted that the affirmative action should be adopted in line with article 35 (5) of the constitution and asked for electoral laws to be reviewed to ensure that all political parties presented at least 40 per cent of their candidates as females.
Madam Abayage blamed the low level of the participation of women in the decision making process to religious, cultural practices and asked for the modification of negative cultural practices hampering the development of women.
Women, she noted, needed to be empowered by civil organizations to enable them to undertake political carriers and appealed to traditional authorities and opinion leaders to ensure that the girl child was sent to school.
The function was attended by Women Rights activists, political parties, assembly members, traditional leaders and media practitioners.