Politics of Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Source: citi fm
The issue of women empowerment took centre stage in Parliament on Tuesday when the leadership of the House came under siege from some members who were visibly outraged by the exclusion of female MPs from a number of key Committees of the House.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Tarkwa Nsuayen, Gifty Oppong Kusi first raised the matter during a debate on the second report of the Committee of Selection on the composition of Committees of the House.
The ensuing debate saw strong support for the former Deputy Minority Chief Whip’s concerns.
She addressed the House saying, “the Standing Orders Committee has no female Member of Parliament, Works and Housing has no female Member of Parliament, Defence and Interior has no female Member of Parliament and then Mines and Energy Committee has no female Member of Parliament; so if they can really arrange to sit down and try and include us.”
She argued that the presence of women in the Committees will help generate more ideas to improve the effectiveness of their work.
Her comments however, drew the Majority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, to rise to defend the criteria used in appointing law makers onto the Committees.
He said: “If we had decided to feature our female colleagues on every committee, some members will not have committee at all. The reason is that when we were 200 members, it is the same number of committees that we are now sharing for 275. That is why Mr. Speaker, if you look through, you will see that almost 90% of members are on only two committees.”
“When you want to feature our female colleagues on every committee, what it’s going to mean is that we will be putting some of our colleagues at a disadvantage of not being on a committee at all and that will be against the standing orders of this House.”
Shortly before the House adopted the report of the Committee of Selection, the Speaker directed that the matter of gender balance raised on the floor be discussed and appropriately resolved.
In all, 16 select Committees were approved. The House also approved the membership of 14 Standing Committees as well as 1 ad-hoc Committee.