In commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021, the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), would like to recognize women and other gender equality promoters whose consistent efforts over the years, have contributed to various levels of improvements in women representation within all sectors of the country, particularly, in governance.
This year’s edition which is being celebrated under the theme: ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’, presents another opportunity for government and indeed, all stakeholders to reflect critically on the paucity of women’s participation in public and political life and the impediments facing women’s access to decision-making structures.
It is disappointing to note that close to three decades of the Fourth Republican Constitution, Ghana has been unable to put measures in place to actualize Article 35 (6) which mandates the State to “take appropriate measures to achieve reasonable regional and gender balance in the recruitment and appointment to public offices” despite the immense contribution of women to political life. The implementation of similar progressive policies in international treaties and charters and legal instruments put in place by the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional bodies, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals which have all been signed/ratified by Ghana, have regrettably suffered the same fate.
The Center acknowledges the marginal increase in female representation in the 8th Parliament which is at approximately 15 percent from the previous figure of approximately 13 percent in the 7th Parliament. This figure is the highest so far under the Fourth Republic and represents a doubling of female representation during the first Parliament in 1992. Despite this improvement, more commitment is needed to enable us achieve equality not only in Parliament, but at all levels in our governance structure by addressing the deep seated patriarchal norms which influences perceptions of women’s capabilities and roles, high cost of election campaign, intra-party discrimination against women, socio- cultural factors which impede the full participation of women in public life and decision making levels including poor policy implementation and lack of policies that promotes equality and equity.
As an important step to overcoming these barriers, CDD-Ghana reiterate calls for government to urgently lay the over a decade old Affirmative Action Bill before Parliament for its rev iew and immediate passage. The passage of the affirmative action bill presents great opportunity for the country to benefit from the contribution of more than half of its population and would significantly promote equality in participation and representation in decision making processes.
The Center would also like to use this occasion to remind government that for Ghana to achieve the vision of leaving no one behind in the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable development as propounded in Agenda 2030, more decisive action is needed to ensure inclusive, effective and democratic participation of all citizens. The only means to end the stark realities on the ground with respect to the continued and entrenched gender disparities and inequalities in almost all areas of our national life is to see the realization of Article 35 (6).
Lastly, CDD-Ghana encourages every Ghanaian woman to #ChooseToChallenge and call out gender bias and inequality which is hindering their access and participation in leadership. All advocates for gender equity, especially Civ il Society Organizations (CSOs) should not relent in their efforts, but rather, intensify their advocacy campaign towards the successful passage of the Affirmative Action Bill to help deepen Ghana’s democracy which must be inclusive of all.
With a mission to promote and deepen democratic consolidation, good governance, and inclusive growth and development, the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) works to support and promote a free, peaceful, and a well-governed democracy in Ghana and in other parts of Africa. The Center has over two decades of experience, expansive reach, and a robust network of partners at the national, continental and global levels. CDD-Ghana has cultivated an enduring reputation as a leader in the field of democracy and governance, which enables the adoption and implementation of targeted strategies aimed at addressing the fundamental issues hindering citizens from enjoying the full benefits democracy and good governance has to offer.