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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WiLDAF Punches Mills

Bernice Sam-Country Coordinator of WiLDAF
Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), a non-governmental organisation, has criticized the Mills administration for failing to fulfill its promises of increasing female representation in political decision-making at both local and national levels.

Frank Wilson Boadza, Programmes Officer of Governance at WiLDAF, in a presentation, which was under the theme: “Affirmative Action,” said that though President John Evans Atta Mills promised 40 percent women participation in his government, only 20 percent of women have been appointed so far.

Currently, he said, women in Ghana have secured 19 seats as at July 2009, representing 8.7 percent of the 230 seats in Parliament.

Citing an example, Mr. Boadza said that the Economic Advisory Council had no woman as a member.

In view of this, he mentioned that the current government has not been able to achieve the goals under the Beijing Affirmative Action Policy Guideline, which mandates countries to appoint 30 percent of women in government.

Statistically, out of the 25 members on the Council of State, only 3 are women. He noted that there were only 4 women as Regional and Deputy Ministers.

He added that women had 15 appointments out of the 75 appointments that were made by the President John Evans Atta Mills, noting, “It is only in the non-cabinet ministerial positions that the current government has been able to achieve a 50 percent representation for women.”

Mr. Boadza explained that the affirmative action policy that was started in 1960 during the Nkrumah’s regime, enacted the People’s Act, which created an opportunity for the election of 10 unopposed women from six regions to be represented on the then National Assembly.

“Though the Act did not increase the number of women in Parliament, it affirmed the CPP government’ commitment in providing equal opportunity for women in the decision-making of the country,” he stressed.

Ghana, he observed, became part of the countries in the world that reserved seats for women in Parliament but “currently they are nonexistent.”

He added, “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

The Country Coordinator of WiLDAF, Bernice Sam, on her part, said it was distressing that the government was failing to fulfill its earlier promise, stressing, “Their words do not match with action.”

By Jessica Amponsah

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