Centre for Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO), an alliance of rural community women, Monday called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to appoint more women into leadership positions in his second term of governance.
Poor women empowerment and participation in governance, according to the NGO, remain a huge national challenge that threatens Ghana’s fledgeling democracy.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Techiman in the Bono East Region, Mr Mustapha Maison Yeboah, Chief Executive Officer of COPIO, congratulated President Akufo-Addo on his re-election.
He also commended Ghanaians for embracing and helping to consolidate the gains of the nation’s multi-party democracy.
Women constitute about 51.2 per cent of the national population, adding that without their active participation in public discourse and decision-making process, it would be extremely difficult for the country to progress.
He also noted that without the full participation of women in the national discourse, President Akufo-Addo government might not be able to achieve the country’s vision.
“Unfortunately, women participation in governance and at all levels of decision-making in the country is very low, hence appointing more women will motivate younger women to brace themselves up for leadership positions,” he said.
“The absence of more women in politics and governance can be attributed to male dominance, which is a key aspect of the Ghanaian social system and that is why we are calling on you as the listening president to appoint more women in your government.”
Women representation in governance is not encouraging as it still fell short of the minimum UN recommended threshold of 30 per cent deemed satisfactory by activists at the Beijing Conference of 1995.
“We will, therefore, commend President Akufo-Addo for appointing two women as District Chief Executives for Nkoranza North and Nkoranza South in your first term”, he said, and called on him to maintain them and also appoint more.
However, Mr Yeboah expressed regret that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did not have any female parliamentary candidate in the Bono East region during the 2020 general election.
He called on the government to empower and motivate women to aspire higher in politics.
“Women’s role and status are recognizably inferior to those of men in almost all aspects of social, political and economic life,” he said.
He added, “Custom, law and even religion have been used to rationalize and perpetuate these differential roles to the extent that women themselves seem to have accepted and internalized it.
“It’s worth noting that the legal frameworks of the country give equal opportunities for both men and women to register to vote or to exercise their franchise, and to stand to be elected as presidential candidates, Members of Parliament or Assembly representatives in both local and national government structures, but unfortunately such fairness is not seen in the area of political appointment.
“The unequal playing field created by political parties always disadvantages women because they don’t have the required resources or financial muscle to do political campaigns and sell their ideologies to the voting masses.”
The UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 acknowledges this fact and therefore has a target to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.
Mr Yeboah said, “So since President Akufo-Addo is the Co-Chair of the SDGs, we are humbly reminding him of his pledge because incidence and depth of poverty are greater among particularly rural women.”
This, among several reasons, he explained was why COPIO was implementing a three-year project to empower women to go into active politics and enhance their participation in governance, both at local and national levels.
The project is titled: “Creating access to social and economic opportunities among women by empowering them in various leadership and socio-economic activities in the Bono East Region of Ghana.”
It was funded by Global Affairs Canada and Plan International Ghana.
It was being implemented concurrently with a six-month COVID-19 response project.
It aimed at providing accurate information to fight the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable women.
Mr Yeboah advocated a legal framework that would give equal opportunity for both men and women in national politics to help alleviate sufferings, abuses and oppressions of women and girls.
“COPIO which collaborates with rural community women who believe and practice women empowerment assures your government the needed support to achieve your vision for the nation and deepened Ghana’s democracy,” he added.