Justice Bamford Addo was speaking at the opening of a two-day conference of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians of the West African sub-region in Accra.
She said the quota system in politics has the potential to motivate political parties to engage women as it has led to an increase in women’s participation in politics in Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa.
Justice Bamford Addo however said, political parties and governments have the tendency to manipulate and patronize women in the name of affirmative action to mobilize support for governments to remain in power.
Touching on support and funds to help women go into politics, she urged the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) to open a Facebook account to reach out world-wide and operate mobile short codes for individuals to contribute towards women’s cause.
Other speakers called on political parties in West Africa to adopt proactive gender-sensitive strategies to ensure that more women get into politics.
They said political parties are the immediate vehicles through which the declining levels of women’s representation in governance could be arrested.
The meeting, being attended by female MPs and political party representatives among others, is under the theme: “Increasing women’s participation in politics in Commonwealth West Africa: the role of political parties.”
Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Minister of Women and Children Affairs in her address, urged the parties to put in place gender-sensitive constitutions and manifestoes as a means of showing more commitment to women’s participation in politics and leadership.
She said Ghana has gone far with a piece of proposed legislation on Affirmative Action with public consultation on the bill almost completed.
Hajia Mary Salifu Boforo, the West Africa Representative of the CWP, argued that the structures, values, policies and practices of political parties have profound impact on the level of women’s participation.
She said with only 16 per cent of women parliamentarians, Commonwealth West Africa is rated among the lowest in Africa.
By Eunice Menka