Friday, February 8, 2008

‘Include Gender issues in Political Parties’

The Ghanaian Times, Friday, February 8, 2008. Page 12 (Political News)

Edmund Mingle

Gender activist groups yesterday took political parties in the country to task, demanding that the parties ensure that women’s development related issues be mainstreamed in their manifestos for December general elections. The group said there was the need for their parties to show demonstrable commitment towards empowering women through clear cut policies.

The leaders of ABANTU for Development and Women in Broadcasting, made the call at a roundtable discussion with representatives of political parties in Accra. The meeting organised by the two groups with support from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, had the theme, “Including gender issues in political parties’ manifestos for election 2008.” Participants form the parties included national women organisers, youth organisers, chairmen of the manifesto drafting committee and policy analysts of the parties.

It comes in the wake of initiative of the various parties to develop their manifestos for the 2008 election.

Dr. Rose Mensah-Kutin, Executive Director of ABANTU, urged the political parties to let the Women’s Manifesto guide them in developing their manifestos in addressing gender issues. She said although civil society was assisting to enhance women’s participation in politics and governance, the political parties must be at the forefront of such initiatives to empower women in politics.

Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Director of the Institute of Local Government, in a presentation to open discussions, said that while the parties’ manifestos were yet to come out, it was important at this stage to draw attention to issues about women development that needed to be captured into the manifestos. She said although there were efforts made in the manifestos for the 2000 and 2004 elections to improve the welfare of women and their participation in governance, “the time has come for a more strategic shift in approach in the manifestos.”

She suggested that instead of devoting a few paragraphs in the manifestos to women issues, the parties should indicate clearly in all paragraphs how women development would be fused in every development programme. That, she said was necessary because all the sectors of the economy have gender dimensions, which should be adequately addressed. She also asked the parties to consider the demands of the Women’s Manifestos which articulates critical concerns of women in Ghana and makes proposals for addressing them.

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