Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adhere to Gender Equality- WiLDAF

Adhere to Gender Equality- WiLDAF
Daily Graphic, Wednesday, 13th January, 2010; Page 15, (Politics)

A Gender NGO, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF, Ghana), last Monday reminded political parties to abide by their promises to ensure gender equality and affirmative action at their forthcoming congress to elect national executives.

In a statement signed by their Ms Bernice Sam, National Programme Coordinator, WiLDAF Ghana, it noted that in a few days the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would hold national delegates congress to elect national executives.

“Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF Ghana) and partners of the We Know Politics Project wish them well believing that multi-party democracy and respect for individual rights have now become part of Ghana’s bedrock for sustainable development.”

“We are also taking this opportunity to remind the parties of their commitment to ensure at least 30 per cent representation of women in their executive structures.”

It said this commitment was made in a communiqué agreed between the Institute of Economic Affairs and four political parties with representation in Parliament on 30 June, 2009 at Akosombo in the Eastern Region.

“Interestingly, the NDC has an arduous task to prove its commitment to gender equality above the 30 per cent representation in the Akosombo Declaration.”

It said the party committed itself to 40 per cent representation of women contained in its Better Ghana Manifesto, promises of President John Atta Mills to Ghanaians in statements during the 2008 electioneering and also his State of the Nation address to Parliament on February 19, 2009.

WiLDAF said the NPP, on the other hand, whilst in government, had ratified the Protocol to the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2007 and endorsed the Africa Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in 2004.

“As these political parties go to congress, the onus is on them to demonstrate their commitment to gender equality through the election of gender-balanced national executive.”

“The number of women that emerges as executive at the political parties congresses could further be a ‘hint’ of how many women these political parties feature as parliamentary candidates, vice-presidential running mates or presidential candidates in the 2012 general election.”

WiLDAF said if the NDC and NPP failed to meet the target set in the Communiqué of the June 30, 2009, “then it will be an embarrassment to citizens of Ghana before the international community whom our governments have made commitments demonstrated through ratification, signatures and reporting on gender equality.”

It said alternatively, when gender-balance was achieved at congresses, it would be a feather in the cap of the country and a demonstration of its commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals.

“The fact is the performance of government towards advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in many areas, including discriminatory cultural practices and political representation has not been very encouraging.”

WiLDAF said 2010 marked an important milestone for the United Nations as it reviewed the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action by states 15 after its adoption.
It noted that Ghana Beijing State Report revealed the appalling statistics of women in political and public life below the 30 per cent threshold agreed States in Beijing.

This year, it added, also marked the mid-point review of Ghana’s commitment to the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality which called for 30 per cent representation of women in political life.

“A thousand of a thousand miles starts with the first. As we journey towards the 2012 elections, these initial steps- congresses- taken by political parties will determines how the end result of our general elections will be.” ---- GNA

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