NALAG Decries Decreasing Number Of Women In Local Governance

The number of women elected as assembly members in district level elections (DLEs) has reduced by 50 per cent since 2006, the President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), Mr Bismark Nkum, has stated.

He said 478 women were elected assembly members in the 2006 DLEs, but that number reduced to 412 in 2010 and subsequently to 278 in 2015.

“If the current situation is allowed to continue, we can be sure that Sustainable Development Goal Five (SDG 5), which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls through non-discriminatory service provision to citizens, will not be attained,” he said.

Mr Nkum made this known in a speech read on his behalf by the Second Vice-President of NALAG, Ms Evelyn Dansowa Boateng, at a capacity-building workshop for assembly women and aspiring assembly women in the Greater Accra Region.

The workshop was part of the national sensitisation programme organised by the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), in collaboration with NALAG and the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee on Decentralisation.

The sensitisation programme, which has been organised across all the regions, was aimed at increasing women’s participation in the forthcoming DLEs.


Mr Nkum said the under-representation of women at any level of governance and decision making resulted in a democratic deficit.

“The historical low levels of women’s representation in governance, both at the local and the national levels, is a national indictment,” he said.

He said it also represented the failure of the state to take the required decisive initiatives to address the multiple structural, functional and other factors that made it difficult for women to effectively contribute to national development efforts.

“After 30 years of implementing the decentralisation system in Ghana, the expectation that policies and programmes will be initiated to respect, protect and promote women’s rights and gender equality has not been sufficiently realised,” he stated.

He said women’s participation and representation in local decision-making processes was critical for prioritising women’s practical needs and issues in local government’s agendas.

For that reason, Mr Nkum said, the sensitisation programme was instituted to get more women into the local assemblies through various activities.

Achieving gender equality

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, said the low participation of women at all levels of decision making was mainly attributed to the patriarchy system in the Ghana social setting.

He said with Ghana being a signatory to many regional, continental and international conventions and treaties, there was the need to increase its efforts to support the advancement of women.

Currently, he said, Ghana’s Parliament had a female representation of 36, which is about 12.75 per cent of the entire Parliament, saying that the government was working to achieve the appointment of at least 30 per cent of available public office positions.

That, he said, was part of the quest to achieve gender equality and female participation in decision making.

The Director of the ILGS, Dr Nicholas Awortwi, said there was the need to improve the gender face of local government and women needed to be given higher and more roles in the decision-making processes.

He said political structures and socio-cultural practices impugned women’s participation in the governance of the local assemblies and, therefore, called for restructuring to encourage women.