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Prostitute Tag Prevents Most Ghanaian Women From Politics - Report   
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A research by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on females’ participation in politics in Ghana has shown that most women desist from contesting political positions for fear of insults and being tagged as prostitutes.

Mrs Hellen Muchunu of IRI, presenting the findings on Friday, in Accra, noted that, some respondents said negative societal perceptions about women politicians often discouraged them from actively engaging in political party activities.

The findings were based on responses from focus group discussions and individual interviews with women in politics, including members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from Accra, Kumasi and Tamale.

Mrs Muchunu said the findings also revealed that, there appeared to be higher ethical and moral bar for women than men in the way they are expected to conduct themselves in society to earn respect or qualify for political party leadership.

She said another reason that prevented women from indulging in active politics in Ghana is the security risks posed by active participation in party politics.

She explained that some respondents, who actively indulged in politics, emphasised that, the threat is greater internally and within party rivals and thereby deterring others from seeking to engage in politics.

“The security risk is there I tell you. I don’t drive at night and I don’t take the same route apart from the main road because you will never know who was monitoring you; who wants to know what time you come home, so you need to know how to protect yourself.

“If you want to go into politics and you are a serious politician, you should know how to shoot. And you should have your own gun to use it to protect yourself. You should be alert. If you sit in a group of people, your eyes should be going round because you don’t have a personal security to guard you like the Presidents”, a respondent said.

Mrs Muchunu mentioned the lack of support from husbands; lack of finance; and religious teachings as other factors that discouraged women from engaging in active politics in the country.

A respondent from Tamale during the research said: “I think as a Muslim woman, let me use myself as an example. We have not been encouraged to be with a party leadership because in our religion, a woman doesn’t have to lead men.

“So for that matter, if you have the courage to do it, they will discourage you because as a woman you must be with your husband and take care of your children. Most of the women in politics flirt with men so because of that I had to ask for a divorce”.

Madam Comfort Asare, Director of the Department of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection said gathering and dissemination of the findings was timely since political parties are still organising primaries to elect leaders for the 2020 general elections and encouraged many women to take active part in it.

She said the Ministry was working on the Affirmative law to ensure that there is a 40 per cent mandatory representation of women in all decision making activities, including Boards of Directors, Committees, and political appointments as well as that of private bodies.

Ms Linda Ocloo, Member of Parliament for Shai Osudoku, sharing her experiences, said many people tried to discourage her but she gathered courage and together with her team fought to win the 2016 General Elections after her husband, who was also a candidate died through a motor accident.

She said: “Can’t we women mobilise funds to contest and win elections unless we sell our bodies? I mean some of these issues are very disturbing”.

She recommended that political parties establish and create forums for women to lobby on issues of national interest.

Ms Ocloo also urged public and private institutions to support the election of women candidates into office for them to contribute to national development.
Source: GNA

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