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24.10.2008 Politics

Fewer women vying for political leadership this year

By gna

Mrs Joana Opare, a gender consultant, has expressed concern that the number of women vying for political office this year has dropped from 100 to 68.

“In 2004, 100 women won their primaries, but this year only 66 won the primaries with two vice-presidential female candidates bringing the total number to 68 women vying for political leadership,” she said.

Mrs Opare was speaking at a two-day workshop on the theme, “Strengthening the Capacity of Journalists for Elections 2008” with sponsorship from Canadian International Development Agency; Women's Manifesto Coalition; and Women, Media and Change (WOMEC).

The workshop was hosted by Abantu for Development.

Mrs Opare said lack of funds, encouragement and support amid insults and intimidation from male counterparts were some of the challenges for the drop in women participation in politics this year.

She expressed worry about what she noted as the failure of some political parties to give secure and safe seats to more women than they did in 2004, hence the drop.

She said women had a lot to contribute to politics because of their values, discipline and integrity and they should therefore not be left out from national development.

Mrs Opare said gender inequalities were something that could not be changed overnight, “stressing that it would take decades” and urged the public to understand.

Mrs Charity Binka, President of WOMEC, said women had the capabilities and abilities to enrich the process of development since they were managers of homes and families.

“Women have the skills and they come into politics with a different style and approach to democracy and leadership. Since they manage homes effectively, they should be given equal level playing field.”

Mrs Binka charged journalists to support gender sensitive issues in the coverage of women in their bid to become political leaders.