Free SHS will increase women participation in Assembly polls – Minister

The Eastern Regional Minister Eric Kwakye Darfuor has asserted the Free Senior High School Policy will increase women’s participation in future District Level elections.

Available statistics indicate since 1994 the participation of women in local governance has been less than 10% at the national level in spite of women constituting 51% of Ghana’s population.

Currently, out of 9000 Assembly Members nationwide, only 645 are females representing 7.1%. Again, out of the 260 Presiding Members, only 8 are females representing 3%, out of the 260 MM/DCEs, only 40 are females representing 15%, and out of the 275 Parliamentarians, only 36 are women which represent 13%.

This huge gender disparity remains a conundrum for inclusive governance but the Eastern Regional Minister Eric Kwakye Darfuor believes Free SHS Policy will partly help change the narrative.

“Our young women must take advantage of this Policy and enroll in their numbers so that they could achieve the requisite knowledge and skills in the future to contest the Local-level elections”

The Minister, however, called on stakeholders to put in place deliberate discriminatory Policy interventions to create the enabling environment to encourage more women participation in the Local Level elections.

“I will, therefore, urge MMDAs, NALAG, NGOs, Political Parties as well as government and its agencies to put in place positive discriminatory policies and programs as well as legislations that will bring the needed social changes to encourage and attract women into local governance”.

He said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Municipal Chief Executive of New Juaben North, Comfort Asante during a Capacity-building Workshop for Female Aspirants for the 2020 District Assembly Elections in the Eastern Region organized by National Association of Local Government of Ghana[NALAG].

The Second National Vice Chairperson of NALAG, Evelyn Dansoa Boateng said the amendment of the Local Government Act which comes with election of MMDCEs, has abolished the quota for government appointees which gave Presidents power to appoint some members to the Assemblies, therefore, it is important to encourage all those women appointees as well as others with intent to contest the elections.

According to her, it is time for women to break the patriarchy and male dominance of the Country’s socio-political system.

She said the overall goal of the workshop was to build the capacity of women aspirants to maximize their winning chances to increase women’s participation in local governance.