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05.03.2009 Politics

'Financial constraints push women out of politics'

The First National Vice Chairperson of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Mrs Araba Bentsi-Enchill, has observed that financial constraint is a major obstacle to women active involvement in politics.

According to her, the spirit of volunteerism that characterised politics some decades ago has dwindled and, therefore, politicians have to pay for every service that is offered them by individuals when they go on campaigns and that is pushing a lot of women out of politics.

Recognising the role of women during the independence strugsle, she said some women played vital roles, adding that most women who entered politics in the First Republic were not literate but were traders or market women who financed political party activities and supported their male counterparts.

Mrs Bentsi-Enchill, who stated this in a interview with the Daily Graphic on the role of women before, during and after independence, pointed out that the negative perception that politics was a dirty game, as a result of the use of abusive language and stigmatization of female politicians, had cowed most women who could not stand such pressures into submissiol1, making them reluctant to venture into politics.

Mrs Bentsi-Enchill who contested and lost the Cape Coast Parliamentary seat twice in 2000 and 2004 on the ticket of the CPP, mentioned the names of Daeda Ashikinsha, Akua Shoosho, Funny Sagoe and Akosua Ghana, and described them as unsung heroines who contributed in their own small ways to Ghana's politics.

She said today, a number of women are financially handicapped and, therefore, cannot compete with their male partners on the same platform to win competitive elections.

She, therefore, called on political parties to seriously consider reserving some seats for women so that they could be represented in parliament, adding that the country's development will be hampered without the active involvement of women who constitute over 50 per cent of the nation's population in politics.

Mrs Bentsi-Enchill, who was once an assembly member for Asuoaky-AnkafuF in the Central Region, said it was time for the government and women activists in general to seriously consider grooming more young women into politics saying that when the present crop of politicians phased out it would not be easy getting a new crop of women to enter politics.

She commended the President J.E.A. Mills' administration for appointing more women into ministerial positions since that would help encourage more women to go into politics.

As a former Central Regional Chairperson of the People's National Convention (PNP) and CPP during the Third and Fourth Republics respectively she called on the newly appointed women in government to excel in their assigned roles so as to serve as role models to the younger generation.

Mrs Bentsi-Enchill also called on women advocates not to only encourage other women to present themselves for elections but to set examples for others to emulate.