Parties urged to increase representation of women in politics
Accra, April 10, GNA - The women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), Ghana has called on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to put in measures to increase representation of women in its party structures.
This, WiLDAF says, has become apparent from the hints it is picking from the political environment that even the seats of the current 30 women in parliament are under serious threat from mostly male aspirants.
In a letter to the Party Chairman it said: 'As you start your discussions on the modalities for conducting your primaries, we wish by the platform of this letter to remind you (political parties) of your statements of commitment (both oral and written) made on various political and civil society platforms and in your manifestos in the lead up to the 2012 general election.'
WiLDAF said it applauds the Affirmative Action policies adopted by most political parties in the lead up to the 2012 general election, which among other factors contributed to some marginal increase in the number of women who entered parliament.
However, when the marginal increase in the number of women in the 2013-2016 parliament was analysed within the context of the total number of seats- 30 women out of a total of 275 seats or 10.9 per cent women's representation was still very low compared with men.
Again, in terms of political appointments, women formed only 19.4 per cent of ministers (18 out of the 93 Substantive Ministers and Deputy Ministers).
Also, only 412 women were elected out of the 6093 District Assembly Members elected in 2010.
These figures fall way below the critical mass that women need to be able to have greater capacity to contribute to the development discourse and to make meaningful impact in the lives of women and children.
It is therefore urgent that some bold and unconventional steps are taken by political parties to sustain the momentum by first of all retaining the number of seats currently being held by women and secondly putting in measures to increase the number of women in the 2017-2020 parliament over the current 2013-2016 figures.
WiLDAF commended the NDC for appointing the first female Speaker of Parliament and the first female Commissioner of Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, among others commitments made by the party in the lead up to the 2012 general election and its aftermath.
It reminded the NDC of its manifesto commitment of the ultimate goal of attaining 40 per cent women's representation in all public appointments and at the party's conferences and congresses among others.
'As you prepare to start your primary processes, we would like to use the platform of this letter to kindly remind you to be mindful of these promises and take some concrete actions to realise them,' the letter said.
WiLDAF appealed to reserve the 14 seats currently held by NDC women in Parliament for only women to contest during the primaries.
It noted that the request goes to the NDC and New Patriotic Party since they are the only political parties with women in the legislature.
In addition to the proposal in WiLDAF called on the NDC to fulfill its promise of 40 per cent representation of women in political leadership by reserving 110 out of the 275 constituencies for only women to contest.
'All political parties must work with the Electoral Commission to allocate 30 per cent of Parliamentary Constituencies for only women from all political parties to contest.
It said for instance in Greater Accra Region; 30 per cent of the 34 seats, 11 should be reserved for only women to contest.
It said all political parties should adopt a policy to wave or reduce by minimum of 50 per cent of the filing fees for women contesting the parliamentary primaries and also make provisions for financial assistance to women candidates contesting on their tickets during the 2016 general election.
'We trust this letter would form part of your discussions and inform your decisions in setting modalities for the conduct of parliamentary and presidential primaries towards the 2016 general election,' WiLDAF said.