Thursday, August 7, 2008

Promote Women’s role in Politics

Promote Women’s role in Politics
Daily Graphic, Thursday, August 7, 2008. Page 23
Daniel Nkrumah

The Director of the West Africa Regional Office of ABANTUA for Development, Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, has urged political parties to play an active role to promote affirmative action policies to increase women’s involvement in politics.

She said by virtue of the fact that political parties had control over nomination processes, it was critical that such a request was put on their doorstep.

In a presentation at the Third Daily Graphic Governance Dialogue, Dr. Mensah-Kutin noted the low level of women representation in Parliament had been identifies as having implications for their well being and their ability to change the culture, practices and outcomes of politics of the country.

“The evidence seems to suggest that even tough civil society organisations are pushing the political parties to focus on the real issues confronting this nation, it does not seem that a gender responsive politics of inclusion, with all the complexities is emerging,” she stated.

She added that in as much as there had been enhanced awareness and discussions of issues of women participation in politics, the political landscape still does not seem to be moving in the direction where concrete actions were being put in place to guarantee that “critical mass” in the political space.

“It is a fact that active presence in terms of numbers may not necessarily transform national politics. But evidence from other countries shows that it can enhance the visibility of women as a minimum condition for addressing gender-power relations within the public decision-making processes over a period of time,” she noted.

She added that the move towards a more equitable and gender responsive governance system had to consciously involved women at all levels.

Dr. Mensah-Kutin stated that the continuous engagement with social, political and economic decision making was critical in deepening the direct link between gender and democratic governance.

She noted that although there had been significant changes in family relations, education, work and status, the lot of women had not changed.

She said women in the country continued to face discriminatory practices, in sufficient access to land, and control of resource such as land, capital and technology.

She added that other issues of concern were the treatment of women by the media in terms of ideology, representation and participation; the negative impacts of conflicts on their well being; the incidence of gender violence and the lack of sufficient financial support and commitment for the promotion of gender equality.

“We therefore need to commit to looking at our governance system and how it can be transformed to benefit both women and men on an equitable basis,” she stated.

She said there was also the need to support women who were active in politics and work with political parties “to promote a transformatory agenda that questions patriarchal authority, promotes women’s rights and moves toward the vision that builds solidarity and also mobilises and advances a gender responsive and inclusive democratic system.”

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