Reverse the low participation of women in governance – Regional Director

Ms Malonin Asibi, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of Department of Women, on Monday expressed worry about the low participation and representation of females in decision making processes in the region.

She observed that because of the few female representations in the 22 Municipal and District Assemblies, issues affecting women, in decision-making, education, economic and governance continue to lag behind.

Addressing Queen mothers, assembly women, school children and women groups and at a regional consultative forum in Sunyani, Ms Asibi said only 50 out of the 712 members in the Municipal and District Assemblies in the region were women.

The forum was organised by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWAC) with support from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

It was aimed at collating inputs of the more than 150 participants towards the drafting of the Affirmative Action bill and its subsequent passage into law.

Ms Asibi expressed regret that the region also had only 420 female unit committee members as against 3,201 of their male counterparts.

She said the region has only one female District Chief Executive among the 21 males, adding that it neither had a female regional minister, a deputy nor a Parliamentarian.

Ms Asibi said there was the need to increase women’s participation and representation in governance and decision making positions.

She announced that MOWAC would set up and lead a committee of key stakeholders to facilitate the drafting of the Affirmative Action Legislation.

The Regional Director said the committee would hold regional and community consultations throughout the country to educate the general public on the importance of women participation in governance.

Ms Asibi recounted that in 1998, the government put in place an Affirmative Action Policy guideline that called for at least 40 percent representation of women appointed to the public decision-making positions.

She said not much effort had been made out of the legislation and governments had not been held accountable to that commitment.

Mrs Christabel Dadzie, a gender advocate, reiterated the importance to bridge the gap to promote gender equity at all levels of governance and decision making in the country.

She said the drafting of the Affirmative Action should cover social issues such as women education, health and traditional leadership as well as economic and political imbalances.

Mrs Dadzie said legislation to enforce the affirmative action would help eliminate present discrimination, offer equal opportunities for groups as well as embrace and promote diversity.

She recommended the enactment of an Act of Parliament to actualize Article 17(4) of the 1992 constitution since women had been discriminated against in political, social and economic lives.

Mrs Efua Amponsah Anyanful, Chief Development Planning Officer at MOWAC said that the proposed legislation would ensure gender equity in the election of Members of Parliament and for appointment to offices as well as in other areas.

In addition to the Act of Parliament, a Legislative Instrument should be developed to set out the modalities for the implementation of the law, Mrs Anyanful said.

Source: GNA

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