Politics of Saturday, 17 November 2012
No significant progress has been made towards improving women representation in political decision-making since the institution of the district level elections 16 years ago, Mr. Mohammed Alhassan Awal, Director of Northern Sector Action Awareness Center (NORSAAC) has observed.
He indicated that the inadequate or total absence of women in some cases from political decision-making in the country had a negative impact on the entire process of democratization and decentralization.
He made the observation during the launch of a research report on the performance of women candidates in the 2010 district level elections.
The study conducted in 13 electoral areas in the three Northern Regions sought to find out the gender dimension of voters’ choice of the 2010 district level elections, the reason for their choices, the role the candidates played in their efforts to get elected and their perception about their failure.
Other objective of the study, which employed a stratified sampling method, was to find out the role NORSAAC and other civil societies played in their effort to support female candidates during the elections.
Mr Awal said political parties’ internal culture including clientele list parties and patronage-base parties affects the influence of women within the party.
He observed that, “Parties have internal procedures that are poorly defined with rules that ignore women and decision-making is dominated by a cadre of party elites who are for the most part men. They are the major gate-keepers in determining who will be a candidate”.
Mrs Ekua Amoako, lead researcher, explained that the study, which was conducted in 2011, revealed that negative stereotype and perception about women was a major contributing factor to the poor performance of the women in elections.
She said low level of education of women was also identified as a setback in women’s leadership, which also accounted for their poor performance and participation.
She, however, said during the study a number of respondents expressed their readiness to vote for women.
Mr San Nasamu Asabigi, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, who launched the report, urged the public to vote for women to enable them take up leadership position at all levels of governance.
He said government would in the near future set up a special fund to support the participation of women at the national and district levels of elections.