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26.07.2004 General News

FIDA, UN Gender System organise workshop

By GNA

Kumasi, July 26, GNA - The Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA)-Ghana has recommended to the Electoral Commission (EC) to encourage political parties to ensure gender balance of party executives before they are registered.

It has also urged the government to include women in strategic decision-making positions such as the Cabinet, Council of State, District Assemblies and other institutions.

Mrs Jane Quaye, Executive Director of FIDA-Ghana, who made the recommendations, was addressing the opening of a three-day workshop on gender sensitisation organised by FIDA-Ghana in collaboration with the UN Gender System for political parties and women aspirants in the Ashanti region in Kumasi on Monday.

The workshop attended by over 30 participants including representatives of political parties was aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in party politics.

She noted the statistics indicated that women were under represented in decision-making on national issues and attributed it to socio-economic and other barriers

Mrs Quaye identified the other factors as financial constraints, lack of support; weak access to higher positions in parties and women's low self-esteem and confidence.

The Executive Director of FIDA-Ghana called on political parties to recruit and train women candidates in advance of elections and to remove all barriers against their participation in politics. Mrs Joana Opare, National Programme Manager of the UN Gender System, said inequality among women in national issues had been the concern of many organisations.

Mrs Opare noted that unequal representation in legislative bodies signified that women's representation instead of being a function of democratisation was rather preserving the status quo.

She said during the last decade, women's parliamentary representation in long standing democracies had increased as a result of the impact of women's organisations both inside and outside political parties.

Women's organisation like FIDA who work with political and government institutions have been able to secure electoral changes to facilitate women's nomination and election.

Mrs Opare stressed the need for women especially those at the grassroots to be encourage and participate in leadership trainings that focused on political change and building their capacity.

The National Programme Manager of the UN Gender System called on women to ensure political change that would empower them to become strong politically They should not be seen as new entrants to the political process, who put up substantial presence at campaigns and rallies as supporters and entertainers but rarely holding party positions.

Mrs Ernestina Nana Hagan, Immediate Past Executive Director of FIDA-Ghana, who chaired the function, expressed regret about the low participation of women in decision-making process.

She appealed to women to articulate their views on issues of national importance to ensure gender equality in all aspects of development.

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