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STAKEHOLDERS HOLD DIALOGUE ON WOMEN’S INCLUSION IN GHANA’S LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM

Government has taken a bold decision to democratize local governance and a Referendum will be held in September, this year, to endorse the decision, Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, has announced.

 

Hajia Mahama, who was addressing the opening ceremony of a Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Women’s Inclusion in Ghana’s Local Governance System in Accra on  February 5, 2019, noted, however, that Ghana’s quest for a full democratic local government and a progressive development agenda could not be achieved unless both male and females were empowered to actively participate.

 

She said women’s participation in local governance was pivotal to the socio-economic and democratic growth of any nation, adding that the call for increased participation should, however, go with the capacity development of women.

 

She expressed disappointment about male dominance in political leadership and involvement of women in local governance which, she said, should be contained with strategies such as public education on support for women in elections; support for women’s aspirants by women’s groups; adequate funding and election-related campaign empowerment; development of gender strategies by political parties; and the continuous education and mentoring of women on local governance.

 

Hajia Mahama, therefore, urged all stakeholders to redouble their efforts in support of women to assume their rightful roles in leadership.

 

She commended ABANTU for Development, a gender and policy advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), for its efforts in promoting democracy and good governance in Ghana, over the years, and pledged the support of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in working together with all partners to achieve the objective of increased women’s representation at both the District and Parliamentary levels.

 

Speaking at the event, Dr Comfort Asare, Director, Department of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), reiterated the fact that low women’s representation in decision-making had been recognized as closely linked to the lack of development in the Third World.

 

Dr Asare said it had been observed that poverty and inequality presented formidable gender issues reflected in the largest proportion of the poor who were women.

 

For that reason, she said, any measures to achieve sustainable development should, therefore, deal with gender issues such as the low recognition of the rights of women and the consequent limited representation of women in decision-making at all levels of society.

 

She said it was expedient to emphasize the need for women’s participation in decision-making at the local level because it created an important opportunity and avenue for getting practical experience in participating in politics before moving to the national arena.

 

Ms Hilary Gbedemah, a Lawyer and Gender Consultant, who facilitated the Dialogue, reminded government of its responsibility, as a State Party, to implement the requirements of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

 

Ms Gbedemah said ensuring women’s participation in decision-making at the local level was a requirement of CEDAW and other international laws, instruments and conventions government could not ignore.

 

Welcoming participants to the Forum, Mad. Hamida Harrison, Programmes Manager, ABANTU for Development, said the perennial low representation of women continued to present a huge challenge to gender equality, fairness and social justice, and that women’s increased participation was vital to democratic governance, central to the fight to reduce poverty, hunger and violence, and in promoting peace and security.

 

Mad. Hamida said democracy was about citizen’s popular representation and that the demand for increased participation of women in decision-making was a simple demand for justice, human rights and the fulfilment of constitutional entitlements.

 

She said facilitating for more marginalized citizens, especially women, into the District Assemblies in the up-coming District Level Elections in September 2019, would not only be fair and just, but would also offer women the opportunity to voice their concerns, interests and perspectives in the national development discourse.

 

The Stakeholders Dialogue was organized by ABANTU for Development, with support from Star-Ghana.

 

The Dialogue, which took place under the project: Strengthening women’s capacities for effectiveness in Ghana’s local governance system, aimed to learn, share and exchange ideas on how to address existing challenges, inequalities and imbalances in representation in the local governance system.

 

Source: G.D. Zaney, Esq.

Created: 08 February 2019
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