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Women in Decision Making It will take Ghana 50 years to achieve gender equality - Abantu

n the report, Abantu used a scorecard to rate the performance of political parties on gender equality that have had representation in parliament. They are the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the People’s National Convention (PNC).

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Women in the various political parties participating in a FES empowerment programme. play Women organisers of political parties at an FES forum

The role of the major political parties in the empowerment of women to be at the forefront of decision making in Ghana is abysmal, according to gender advocacy group, Abantu for development.

In the report, Abantu used a scorecard to rate the performance of political parties on gender equality that have had representation in parliament. They are the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the People’s National Convention (PNC).

It collected data from three key sources: a desk study of existing literature on political parties and women in Ghana; telephone interviews with key stakeholders on political participation and women’s rights; and face-to-face in-depth interviews with selected individuals in the women’s rights and political participation space.

Documents which were found particularly useful under the desk review were:

  • Manifestos of political parties with representation in Parliament (CPP, NDC, NPP and PNC)

  • List of women parliamentary aspirants for the period under study

  • List of elected women parliamentarians for the period under study

The study was conducted in the period 2004 to 2012 because it heralds “The Women’s Manifesto for Ghana.”

The African Women’s Progress Scoreboard (AWPS) served as the reference tool for the assessment as it measures progress in women’s empowerment and advancement

The AWPS uses a simple scoring system that is sensitive to progress made. It uses a three-point score of 1 – 2 – 3. Thus the grading system used is: 1 = Low, 2 = Moderate and 3 = High.

Six key assessment areas were used to score the political parties. They include commitments made in party manifestoswomen’s representation within the party National Executive Councils (NEC), primaries/nominations, actual representation in parliament, Appointments of women into public office, public policies on women.

In 2004, the report said that all political parties scored ‘low’ in commitments made in manifestos, primaries/nominations and actual representation in parliament.

The NPP scored “moderate” in women’s representation within the Party National Executive Councils (NEC), while the rest scored low.

The NPP again scored “moderate” in the appointments of women to public office and public policies on women. There were no data available for the rest because they were not in government during the period of the survey.

In 2008, the report noted that all political parties scored ‘low’ in commitments made in manifestos, primaries/nominations and actual representation in parliament.

The NPP scored “moderate” in women’s representation within the Party National Executive Councils (NEC), while the rest scored low.

The NDC scored “low” in the appointments of women to public office and public policies on women. There were no data available for the rest because they were not in government during the period of the survey.

And in 2012, the report said that all political parties scored ‘low’ in commitments made in manifestos, primaries/nominations and actual representation in parliament.

The NPP scored “moderate” in women’s representation within the Party National Executive Councils (NEC), while the rest scored low.

The NDC scored “moderate” in the appointments of women to public office and public policies on women. There were no data available for the rest because they were not in government during the period of the survey.

The report said while the proportion of women in national parliaments is gradually rising the whole world over, at the current rate of progress in Ghana, "it will take almost 50 years to achieve gender equality in elected office without institutional intervention."

The report added: “In Ghana today, it is still less likely for a woman than a man to become a party leader, Member of Parliament, minister or vice president. This means that the equal participation of women and men in political life in Ghana is still very much work in progress, both in terms of the number of women in political office and in terms of their role, influence and impact in the political arena.”

The survey targeted the political parties because of the unique role they play in Ghana’s democratic space.

“Thus political parties are not mere “gatekeepers” of democracy; they also serve as “gatekeepers” of women’s participation in the political arena, facilitating and sometimes hindering women’s access to power.

“That is why the internal functioning of political parties is critical in making them operate more democratically as an important first step towards creating a more level playing field for male and woman party members,” the reported added.

It concluded by calling on political parties in Ghana to do more to support women’s political empowerment.

“By openly, formally and continuously supporting women’s political participation, political parties can generate new support bases, attract new members, alter public opinion and improve their national and international standing,” the report concluded.

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