Only four women were elected as Assembly Members in the last district level elections in the Upper East Region, the Executive Director of Community Development and Advocacy Centre (CODAC), Bukari Issaku, has said.
This figure, he said, was not encouraging and, therefore, called on the media to use their various platforms and outlets to whip up interest among women to boost their morale to contest the upcoming election in their respective electoral areas.
Mr Issaku made the call in an interview with the media at the end of a day’s training for some selected journalists in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region last Tuesday.
He further urged the media to play a critical role towards encouraging and supporting women to contest next year’s district-level elections.
“Undoubtedly, you have a huge platform to use to galvanise huge support for women aspirants to be elected to serve at the local level to contribute to the growth and development of local communities,” it said.
The training brought together 21 media personalities who were trained in gender responsive reporting and development of advocacy plans to support women in the upcoming district-level elections.
It formed part of a three-year project dubbed: “Gender Rights and Empowerment Programme (G-REP) being implemented in the Bawku West District and Bolgatanga Municipality.
The project is being implemented by CODAC, in partnership with STAR Ghana, with funding from Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Not encouraging numbers
Mr Issaku said the country could not achieve its desired progress, if women were not adequately represented around the decision-making table, adding, “Considering that women are in the majority in terms of population, they must be in leadership positions to contribute to the decision-making process”.
“Therefore, we can start the process by ensuring that more women are elected at the local and community levels while measures are put in place for it to be replicated at the national level as well”, he said.
He stressed the NGOs target was to ensure that at least four women were elected in each of the 15 Municipal and district assemblies (MDAs) in the region in a bid to increase women representation in the district assemblies.
The Executive Director said women shied away from putting themselves up for district level elections and other positions ostensibly due to socio-cultural factors and lack of financial resources.
Mr Issaku explained that some cultural practices did not allow women to come out of their shells to contest leadership positions, adding, “such obnoxious cultural practices need to be nipped in the bud to ensure an all-inclusive society".
He called on chiefs and queen mothers to lead the campaign towards abolishing practices that impede the development of women in the society.
The facilitator of the training, Sumalia Saaka, lauded the media for promoting the involvement of women in the country's democratic dispensation.
Some of the participants, in an interview, pledged to offer their platforms to promote women who would contest the elections.