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02.11.2008 Politics

Women in politics attend capacity building workshop

By gna

Female aspiring parliamentary candidates, aspiring assemblywomen and their campaign managers have attended a two day capacity building workshop at Pusug-Namongo, near Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

It was aimed at enhancing women's leadership skills and active participation in the forthcoming elections so that more qualified women would be elected.

The workshop, on the theme, "Strengthening the Capacity of Women Parliamentary Candidates for Election 2008", was organized by the Women's Manifesto Coalition and Abantu for Development, two organizations working in the area of promoting gender equality.

It was facilitated by the Centre for Sustainable Development Initiatives (CENSUDI) and sponsored by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

About 40 participants from the Upper East and Upper West Regions attended.

The Participants were drawn from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), People National Convention (PNC), Convention People's Party (CPP) and the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP).

They were taken through topics including "Lobbying and Advocacy Skills", "Communication and Presentation Skills", "Campaign Strategies", "Critical National Issues", "Women in Politics and Decision making", "Democracy, Citizenship and Elections" "Fundraising Strategies", "Women's Manifesto for Ghana" among others.

Mrs Paulina Abayage, Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Women in a Paper on the topic, "The Importance of Women's Participation in Decision Making and Politics" said most of the leadership positions being held in the country were male dominated, and appealed to Government and other stakeholders to reverse the trend by giving women equal opportunity.

Mrs Abayage said women when given the chance could play effective roles in national development even more than their male counterparts.

She explained that despite the fact that Ghana had been a signatory to many conventions on gender issues, many of the conventions were not implemented and this was affecting the statuesque of women.

She urged political parties to partake in inter-party advisory activities to build their confidence and ensure that the party structure did not discriminate against women.

Mrs Abayage stressed the need for civil societies and political parties to strengthen support and build the capacity of women to run for political office and also support them whilst in office to deliver.

She appealed to traditional authorities and religious organization that make it difficult for women to participate in politics to desist from that practice and rather support them.

Mr Mike Fuoh, Upper East Deputy Director of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) who presented a paper on the topic" Democracy, Citizenship and Election" explained that democracy and citizenship went with responsibilities, and urged the electorate to examine and vote for responsible people who could perform creditable.

He entreated the electorate to come out massively to exercise their franchise on the voting day, since it was their duty and responsibility to do so and urged them not to do anything to mar the elections.

Madam Franciska Issaka, Chief Executive Officer of CENSUDI said the training programme would help equip the female candidates seeking political office and their campaign team members with skills and information.

She said it would also begin to set up a cross party support group to continue advocacy efforts towards improving women's participation in politics and public life.

She appealed to various political parties to give equal positions to women to participate in party activities and urged the aspiring female parliamentary candidates to be assertive and courageous in their campaigns.

She appealed to voters and the general public to support female parliamentary aspirants by voting for them.