As we join the rest of the world in commemorating today, 8th March, as International Women’s Day, we wish to use this occasion to address the unacceptable issue of very low representation of women in governance and decision-making in Ghana and many other African countries and commend the great strides being made elsewhere on the continent.
In spite of all the difficulties, we recognise the progress being made by the African woman, especially, in societies that are becoming somewhat gingerly tolerant against the pull of enduring prejudices.
The struggle for gender parity is helped when there is a semblance of fair representation around the table of decision-making.
East to our region, is the unfolding Kenyan general elections that have thrown up a very important development. The 2010 Constitution of Kenya brought in many significant reforms. Key among them is the creation of special seats reserved for women candidates only.
The new constitution of the East African country provides for, under Article 97, a National Assembly (Parliament) which consists of 290 members each elected by the registered voters of single member constituencies, plus 47 women “each elected by the registered voters of the counties, each county constituting a single member constituency.”
Again, Article 98 of the Constitution reserves 16 senatorial seats for women, on top of the 47 members each elected by the registered voters of the counties, each county constituting a single member constituency. The 16 women senators are “nominated by political parties according to their proportion of members of the Senate elected under…”
We believe the Kenyan model is very worthy of consideration in Ghana and other parts of the continent. Indeed, reserving seats to be contested by women candidates only should even be extended to the district assembly level, where governance in a decentralised system is supposed to be most felt by the people on the ground.
Even as the world awaits with hope a credible and acceptable outcome to Monday’s general elections in Kenya, other African countries must take positive notice of the affirmative elections that should see Kenya taking a huge step forward in leading the necessary struggle to increase the representation of women in decision making in Africa.
We hope that Ghana’s leaders will be among the first to take a serious look at the Kenyan model in this regard.
Source: Danquah Institute/Ghana
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