Speakers at a Gender Advocacy to Parliament (GAP) town hall meeting at Aflao, Ketu South of the Volta, say the 40 females out of a total 275 Members of Parliament (MPs) make Ghana’s Parliament incomplete.
Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, MP for Ho West and Chairman, Minority Caucus of Parliament this under-representation was not unique to Ghana but also an issue in the sub-region where out of the 115 representatives from 15 countries in the current ECOWAS Parliament, the females were less than 20.
Citing the significant role women played, narrated an incident at an ECOWAS Parliament meeting where a female Nigerian MP was able brought calm during a near scuffle between the parliamentarians.
He promised to do his best to retain all four female MPs from the Volta Region and called for deliberate efforts to be made in increasing the number of female MPs across the country for “Parliament is incomplete without women.”
The meeting was organised by Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), a civil society Parliamentary monitoring organisation working across Africa with support from the French Embassy.
The maiden meeting under the GAP project meant for women and women group organisations to discuss the gender angles to the parliamentary meeting and to ensure that women MPs receive feedback from these groups to inform their work on the floor of Parliament, was interactive and engaging.
Mr Kwame Dzudzorli Gakpey, MP for Keta challenged women, who he called “the most powerful people in our homes, in our society” to rise above every limitation to engage in politics to bridge the gap and ensure equal representation of the people in national politics.
Mr Gilbert Borketey Boyefio, Programmes Manager, PNAFRICA said women were better managers of society and increasing their number in Parliament to advocate for women (who make up the majority) issues would serve the country’s interest.
“All is not well because out of 275 MPs, we have only 40 females. Parliament has to be gender sensitive. Parliament reflects society and when women are far more than the men by our statistics, why should we have less women in Parliament?”
Madam Abla Dzifa Gomashie, MP for Ketu South acknowledged factors such as cultural limitation, lack of resources, stigmatisation, the right education, and adversarial nature of politics among others identified by participants as setbacks to women’s involvement in mainstream politics.
She encouraged women to take their eyes off the obstacles, and perceptions and attempt to break new ground.