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Politics of Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Give more attention to women in politics -Otiko

Women’s Organiser of the New Patriotic Party, Otiko Djaba is calling for attention to be given to women who have defied all odds to enter into politics.

According to her, women have over the past years been ridiculed, abused and sidelined for trying to show confidence in themselves by taking part in active politics.

Otiko Djaba who was speaking on Ghana’s flagship programme, Awake, lamented two current incidences in which women who are actively engaged in politics were abused on different platforms but received no intervention.

“If this situation is at hand and has been exposed to the public domain, then how safe will the young woman who sells bread and wants to be in politics, what about the banker, lecturer and teacher who wants to be in governance, she is going to feel coward,” she said.

Available statistics indicate that 16 out of the 23 women who contested as members of parliament in 1992 won their seats with a total number of 200 parliamentary seats, representing 8%.

In 1996, 18 out the 53 women who contested their seats won, representing 9%, whilst in the year 2000, 19 out of the 95 women who contested won their parliamentary seats, representing 9.5% with 230 seats.

In the year 2004 however, 25 out of the 104 women who contested won their bid to enter Parliament, representing 10.9%, whilst in the year 2008, 18 out of the total number of 103 women who contested for the 230 seats won their bids, representing 7.8%.

Currently, there are only 19 women in parliament and out of these women, 13 are from NPP, 5 are from the sitting government NDC and 1 is from CPP, which informs that, there is a big discrepancy between men and women in politics, since parliament have 230 seats.

Meanwhile, the number of women selected as running mates for presidential candidates is nothing to write home about. Currently there is only one woman, Eva Lokko who has been nominated by Dr. Paa Kwesi Ndoum of the Progressive People’s Party.

The NPP Women’s Organiser who lamented the inability to bridge the gap between men and women on the political arena said, “It’s not about making a 40% promise, the fact is that, women don’t have enough resources because we didn’t start getting to school at the same time as men.”

She explained that the late start in education on the part of women had created a lack of confidence on the part of women.

"And so when you have a woman wanting to come into politics there is a problem of confidence because she lacks education hence confidence, and education gives confidence," she added.

"Meanwhile, the few women who are bold , are called names, you are either called a tiger or an iron lady, and so on and so forth and the name calling, the abuse is not something that women are happy with she said."

She further mentioned early betrothals as one of the challenging factors that impede the development of women.

She said, “In rural Ghana especially, the girl child has a problem. At the age of 16 she’s been married off, she suffers from early betrothals, she also suffers from having to be a help for her mother, housemaid or being a “ kayaye” and what have you. All these things impede the development of the girl child.”

Otiko Djaba noted that she wants to see women politically empowered.

“I want women to feel emboldened, to feel that, the pains that we go through during pregnancy and child birth, we can bring that tenacity in governance,” she added.