Politics of Tuesday, 15 January 2013
A number of reasons including cultural barriers and practices, low literacy level of women, women voting against women candidates and the lack of finances for campaign have been identified as the major causes of many women losing the 2010 District Assembly election in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
Other factors including unfulfilled promises by Government and Civil Society Organizations also contributed to women losing abysmally to their male counterparts.
This was made known during the launching of a report on the Performance of Women Candidates in the 2010 District Level Election in the three Northern Regions at a forum held in Bolgatanga on Monday.
The research which was commissioned by Ibis Ghana, a civil society organisation, and conducted by the Northern Sector Advocacy Centre, Community Development and Advocacy Centre (CODAC) and a Research Fellow, Esther Ekua Amoako of the University for Development Studies (UDS), also identified poor campaign strategies, Lack of communication skills and voting based on political party affiliation among others.
The study was to establish the reasons why many women lost the election, to see how this could be addressed and to avoid such outcomes in the next District Assembly Election scheduled for 2014.
Launching it, the Programmes Manager of CODAC, Mr Issahaku Bukari indicated that although the situation had improved as compared to the previous years through the support of Ibis and other partners, there was still the need to work on women aspirants to ensure that many of them won subsequent elections.
Giving the statistics of the 2010 District Assembly election and the just ended Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the three northern Regions, he said the situation was very appalling and cited for instance, that out of the 70 women who contested the 2010 District Assembly election, only 23 won and one won the December Parliamentary election.
He indicated that in the 2010 District Assembly Election a considerable number of NGOs and the Government Ministry like Women and Children's Affairs promised they were going to support women and this created the impression that the women candidates were supported but meanwhile that was not the case.
He said in view of that during the campaigns the electorate, particularly the male ones, were demanding money and other items from the aspiring assembly women before they could vote for them.
He explained that in the three northern Regions people still had the cultural belief that the place of the woman was in the kitchen and that they were not capable of becoming effective leaders and said until such negative cultural practices and beliefs were uprooted it would be very difficult for women in the area to actively participate in governance.
He said his outfit with the support from Ibis Ghana was working on the “Public Participation in Local Governance (PPLG) project” and that through it, traditional councils in Garu, Bawku, and Talensi among others had been sensitized to allow women participate in decision–making process which they had agreed and included them in the local councils.
“I am highly optimistic that as time goes on the situation will change for the better but we have to double our efforts by embarking on vigorous sensitization programmes to accelerate change in the negative trend”, he stressed.
On the way forward, the participants stressed the need for the profiling and preparing of women towards 2014 Assembly election, working to reduce negative cultural practices, advocacy training including public speaking, and supporting aspirants with campaign funds and logistics.