Regional News of Thursday, 10 July 2014
The Network for Women’s Rights (NETRIGHT) has expressed disappointment at the withdrawal of a female representative on the National Media Commission (NMC) by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGSP).
“We are enraged that this is happening at this critical juncture where the three coalitions of Ghana are unequivocally supporting the efforts of the ministry to secure the passage of an Affirmative Action Bill into law in order to increase women’s representation,” it said.
A statement issued by the organisation noted that globally, the number of women represented in the political institutions of a given country was taken to provide a good indication of the health of its political system, provided diversity of opinion and established true national ownership, saying that “in a genuinely representative democracy, increasing women’s presence has a democratising function and women should not be regarded as an added-on issue.”
It said it was against the background that NETRIGHT found it incomprehensible that at a time when women of Ghana had only two representatives on the NMC, the MoGSP withdrew its female representative and replaced her with a male, effectively ensuring that women would have only one representative on the current NMC, narrowing women’s participation in a crucial public institution.
It said the response of the MoGSP to its written concern on the issue was a betrayal of the ideals of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Protocol to The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action which Ghana is a signatory to all of them. “With Mr Essamuah’s appointment, there has been no change to the representation of the NCWD and the ministry on the NMC. The NCWD and the ministry remain represented; it is the gender of the representative that has changed”, it quoted a response from the ministry.
“We view this stance of MoGSP as extremely unfortunate. If it holds the belief that the replacement of a female member on the NMC by Mr Ernest Benjamin Kakra. The statement reminded the ministry that the composition of the NMC was increased from 16 to 18 members following a Constitutional Amendment in 1996.
It said representation of NCWD (now Gender Department) on the Commission was secured as part of the amendment following intense advocacy on the part of women’s groups to increase the number of women on commissions and boards in the country.
“This action was and still is necessary because of Ghana’s long history of under-representation of women in public life and on public commissions and boards,” it said.