Source: All Africa
ABANTU for Development, in collaboration with Women in Broadcasting (WIB) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) will be organizing a series of monthly press conferences starting from today June 11 to November 13, 2012 (once every month for 6 months) to highlight pertinent issues for consideration by the media and the general public on the urgent need to continue women's rights and gender equality in the Election 2012 and beyond.
It further seeks to challenge key stakeholders particularly the Media and Political Parties on the role they ought to play since women make up 51.2% of Ghana's population.
In the processes towards the 2012 Elections, Ghanaian women have not seen sufficient action to fully implement the commitments towards gender equality, even though the Women?s Manifesto for Ghana sets out critical issues of concern to women in Ghana and makes demands for addressing them.
Instead, what we are seeing is a denial of an opportunity for concerned women and men in this country to engage in issue-based politics.
Giving a background to the conference in a document copied to Public Agenda, the gender based organisations noted: it is imperative that we continuously examine, scrutinize and interrogate processes that locate women in disadvantaged positions that keep them out of processes for development. The scrutiny includes putting a searchlight on our national processes especially electoral processes, to ensure equal participation of men and women and the realization of their rights as equal citizens of the country.
Ghana is a signatory to global declarations and protocols that call for increased women?s participation and representation in decision-making including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), Africa Union (AU) Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality, Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People?s Rights.
However, the organizations maintained that women remained underrepresented in decision-making platforms even as they have demonstrated capacity and commitment in contributing effectively to national processes.
Currently, women represent only 8.3 percent of the 230-member Parliament, which is clearly unreflective of the 51.2 present female population in Ghana (2010 population census). This is happening in spite of the fact that participation as an approach has become central to most development initiatives and has been expected to result in the equal inclusion of women and men in political power-sharing and control of resources.
In addition, the principles of political pluralism and democratic governance require the integration of women's rights and gender equality which in electoral politics include women?s effective and equal representation.