Politics Of Abuse Deters Women - Ursula Owusu
An Executive Member of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Ursula Owusu says the exclusion of females from the shortlist of possible running mates to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo is an indictment on all politicians in Ghana.
'We have done a lot of work in the field of women empowerment, but looking at the results with each succeeding elections, from the district assembly level through to parliamentary level, the results do not reflect the amount of work done by many women rights groups,' Ursula Owusu said.
According to her, many women shy away from politics because of the 'insults that are heaped on them, particularly, sexually lace insults,' which she described as 'very offensive.'
'If you look at what went on with Nana Konadu's challenge of President Mills, the negative comments, the insults and all that it saddens me as a woman; that for a woman daring to aspire to the highest office of the land, she is treated in such a vile manner, and that reflects the psyche of Ghanaians. That is why I say that maybe we are not ready.'
Ursula Owusu, who has received a lot of flak from her political opponents, said she has a thick skin to bear all that but such 'insults, demonizing and abusive comments only deter other eligible female contenders, adding, 'if you think the woman is incompetent, say so but do not say that she has attained her position because of giving sexual favours. That is so offensive and not many women will want to put themselves through it.'
Ursula, parliamentary candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the Ablekuma South Constituency, was optimistic the jinx will be broken some day when Ghana will have at least 50 female MPs, however, saying 'it is just a matter of when.'
She suggested that if all efforts fail government should consider passing a law that will make it mandatory for a minimum number of females to serve in governance.
'We have a chance in the next parliament; let us work towards getting as many women as possible elected to the next parliament and we can use that as a springboard to lobby and argue for women to be appointed or elected to the highest office of the land. The day will come and Ghana will see the female president in this country; it is just a matter of when'.
'It is time we all took a decision to identify potential female leaders, train them, support and encourage them to take up leadership in this country because our country needs its women working side by side with its men to develop this country holistically, taking the needs of the various sectors of the population into consideration. We are not doing that and the developmental results are showing. That is why we are running round in circles and not making any headway in terms of moving the country forward.
'If all the work we have done so far hasn't delivered the required result, we need to consider legislating an equal opportunities law which will make it mandatory for a minimum number of females to be elected or appointed into all levels of governance in this country.'