28.09.2004 Politics

MOWAC meets aspiring Women Parliamentarians

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Accra, Sept. 28, GNA - Ghanaian women in politics on Monday asked the donor community and philanthropists to provide financial and material support to facilitate their campaigning for Election 2004. "Such support is badly needed as, women's participation in politics is indispensable to our national democracy and development", Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), said in a keynote address at a forum with aspiring women Members of Parliament (MPs) in Accra.

Mrs Asmah noted that society was made up of families put together, saying women managed families and could better take care of the society. "After all, women make up 52 per cent of the nation's population," she said.

The meeting was aimed at consulting with all women aspirants in the election on how best to raise funds and support for their campaigns. It brought together more than 50 aspiring women parliamentarians from all the political parties.

Mrs Asmah said women had been suppressed for too long and there was an urgent need to address the imbalances in their representation in Cabinet to effect changes in decisions that affected both women and children.

"The periods of women spreading their clothes for men to walk on are gone forever. Women have to create their own heroines since they could pull crowds and create their own charisma," she said.

She stated that though a lot of effort had been put into building capacities of a large number of women in the past, the selection of only a hand full of them as representatives in Cabinet was discouraging and had been a total waste of resources.

Mrs Asmah appealed to the donor community to support women aspirants in the form of logistics and financial aid to enable them to embark upon effective campaigning and other activities in their constituencies.

The Minister challenged the Women Parliamentary Aspirants to be bold and not to allow themselves to be intimidated. They should come out strongly with their plans and talents during their campaigns to convince voters to give them their mandate.

"We need you in Cabinet to back major issues that affect us and the generations to come and you must work hard on achieving that (goal)," Mrs Asmah said.

She cautioned women politicians to be circumspect in their speeches during their campaigns and be less confrontational since that could alienate the electorate.

Mrs Leonora Kyerematen, National Programmes Co-ordinator, National Governance Programme, said the programme had since its inception offered training for politicians to keep them abreast with current issues in governance.

"We have dealt with district assemblies, political parties as well as individual political aspirants to enable them to know how best to approach and get to the electorate.

She noted that financial constraints had been a major setback to recognising the full potential in people.

There were many petitions from the women to donors to supply them with logistics such as motorcycles, bicycles and lanterns to enable those in the remote places to keenly monitor the electoral process. They called on MOWAC to co-ordinate with nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and other donor agencies to find out their programme outlines for women so that they could tap on their resources for equal disbursement.

"Most of these NGOs and donors have various programme outlines for women in politics and it will be best for MOWAC to create a basket for fund-raising to support us," Madam Hawa Yakubu, MP for Bawku Central said.

Madam Yakubu further suggested that a fund raising dinner dance be organised by the Ministry to bring together both donors and women aspirants for closer partnership for funding.

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