Speaker of Parliament, Professor Michael Aaron Ocquaye, has noted that the days of emotional justification for women participation in governance and leadership are over.
Women, he said, need to take action by advancing suggestions and modalities to actualize what has already been accepted to be important element in governance.
“The days of emotional appeals are over. It is now time to find ways and means to effectuate modalities and suggestions,” he stated.
Speaker Mike Ocquaye expressed these sentiments in response to a statement made on the floor of the House on the topic, “Women participation and representation in Parliament: The case of Ghana’s Parliament.””
He noted that taking pride in the example of Rwanda where the representation of women in Parliament is quoted at 68% and making calls for similar changes in Ghana should be made in hindsight to the Rwandan modalities that the system operates on.
According to him, members should engage in discussions on the matter in that perspective and stated, “I urge you to ponder on it this way because that is how we can make headway and carry everybody in the Affirmative Action Bill.”
Member for Mfantseman Constituency, the Hon. Ekow Hayford, who read the statement, argued the 13.5% women representation in Parliament is still less than half of the 30% threshold.
Women participation in the legislature, he said, continues to be a matter of debate in society despite the many struggles and the salient role they have played in furthering democracy in Ghana.
He stated that women around the world at every socio-political level find themselves underrepresented in Parliament and far removed from decision-making levels.
He said, “The factors that hamper women’s political participation vary with level of socio-economic development, culture, type of political system among others.”
He argued that politically women face lots of obstacles, which include mainly, prevalence of masculine model of political life and elected government bodies.
According to him, men largely dominate the political arena, formulate rules of engagement and often define the standards of evaluation.
He said, “Lack of party support in the form of limited financial support for women candidates, limited access to political networks, lack of access to education and training systems for women leadership among others contribute to the underrepresentation of women in Parliament.”
He argued that ideological and psychological factors such as cultural patterns and predetermined social roles assigned women and men and the traditional portrayal of women as mothers and housewives has done nothing but limit the cause of women.
Hon. Hayford made a number of recommendations that he hopes will help increase women representation, which include increasing the number of seats in Parliament and reserving same only for women candidates and also getting political parties to present more women in their various strongholds.
Speaker Mike Ocquaye subsequently referred the statement to the Committee on Gender to come out with specific recommendations on the matter and suggest how to achieve the proposal for more effective participation of women in Parliament.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org