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Regional News of Thursday, 14 June 2012

Source: GNA

Gender Centre launches women leadership project

The Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre on Thursday launched “Women in Leadership Project " in Accra to ensure that women’s participation in politics and public life is effective and responsive to their priorities.

The project is being funded by the Dutch Government, under its Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women-(Flow) programme through Womankind-UK, to implement the four-year project from 2012 to 2016.

Mrs Dorcas Coker-Appiah, Executive Director, Gender Centre, said women’s participation in leadership in Ghana left much to be desired.

She said women currently represent only eight per cent of parliamentarians, putting Ghana at 121 out of 143 countries worldwide with parliaments, well below African countries such as Rwanda, South Africa, Burundi, Ethiopia, Togo and Burkina Faso.

At the district level, women’s representation had declined from a 38 per cent in 2002 to a provisional figure of about 7 per cent during Election 2010 for assembly women.

Mrs Coker-Appiah howeve applauded the appointment of women to some high level positions, like the Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament and Government Statistician.

She said there was the need to raise the position of women to reasonable levels.

She said Ghana as a State and party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the nation had an obligation to promote women’s participation in politics.

Similarly, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women enjoined Ghana to put up similar measures to increase women’s participation in leadership positions.

Mrs Coker-Appiah noted that since the return to constitutional democracy in 1992, many organisations had worked consistently towards increasing women’s participation in public life, therefore, the project being launched would complement the excellent work being done over the years to support women.

Mrs Margaret Brew Ward, Programmes Manager, Gender Centre, explained that the project would be implemented at three levels; school, district and national with the overall goal at ensuring that young girls at the Senior High School and Tertiary Institutions, had their leadership skills increased and sharpened to aspire for political and other leadership positions.

Resources and opportunities would be given to such women to contribute towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 3, which ensures gender equality and the eradication of poverty.

Mrs Ward said the national aspect of the project would focus on establishing a long term women’s leadership programme, targeting 40 candidates who lost Election 2008 and 2012 parliamentary primaries and work intensively to prepare them for Election 2016.

Another 45 women from three districts would be trained over three years to enable them contest the district level elections while at the school level, capacities of young women in schools would be built under a pilot project to whip up their interest as potential leaders and future politicians.

She explained that a district in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions would be selected for the implementation of the project.

Mrs Hamida Harrisson, Lecturer, University of Ghana, and Convener- Women’s Manifesto Coalition, said it was regrettable that after 50 years of Ghana’s independence, women who out-numbered men in the country still lagged behind in leadership positions.

She therefore lauded the project and expressed the hope that it would help boost the confidence of women to take up positions, as well as political parties and the State to give them their rightful positions in the society.**

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