Parliamentarians are calling for national conversation to develop strategies that will increase women representation in the legislature.
The call follows a statement by member for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, who lamented the low number of women in the house and urged the state to demonstrate leadership on the continent once more by being on the forefront of encouraging women to contest elections.
He appealed to the Speaker to commission research into why Ghanaian women do not put themselves up for political office and also task the women Caucus and leadership to visit countries that have implemented the gender quota system to see how Ghana and the political parties can implement such strategy.
According to him, the number of women in Parliament has stayed static or dwindled over the various Parliaments since 1992 with a total of 1,455 men elected to serve as MPs as against 165 women.
Ras Mubarak argued that diversity delivers better decision and stressed proper meaning should be given to democracy and justice within the country by building a fairer society.
He questioned why Ghanaian women have not taken up the challenge to contest political positions when there is no record of official discrimination against female candidates by any political party in the country.
He said, “The underrepresentation of women in Parliament is a problem we inherited; a problem of our Parliament, a problem for all political parties and a national problem that should not be swept under the carpet.”
Member for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in his contribution called for sincerity in discussing such important issue and resolve to address the trend permanently.
He urged the House to take action on the Affirmative Action Bill and use the opportunity to inset parliamentary seat quotas to be reserved to women and give practical manifestation and demonstrate commitment to the Constitution on the matter of gender balance.
“We represent the people but does composition of this House reflect the fact that women constitute the bigger number of our population,” he queried?
“There is nothing wrong if the two political parties that have dominated the 4th republic reserve seats for women, especially in their strongholds in the impending 2020 elections.”
“The direct principle of state policy under chapter 6 of the Constitution is very clear that we should ensure women participate meaningfully and encourage gender and regional balance. We cannot continue to play lip service to the issue of gender equity and equality,” he stated.
1st Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, expressed surprise at comparisons between Ghana, which operates under a constitution that firmly believes in competition and countries that use proportionate representation to select members into Parliament.
According to him, to adopt such strategies demands constitutional amendment and political parties reserving seats for female contestants but wondered whether that would be enough in Ghana’s aggressive political environment.
“I encourage all of us to continue the discussion and bring out proposals that may help solve the phenomenon.”
“But the political parties can do better by encouraging more women to participate in their internal elections.”