A study has shown that Ghana has, since independence in 1957, politically appointed only 45 females, representing 12.36 percent against 319 males, representing 87.67 percent, as ambassadors and high commissioners to its foreign missions.
The worrying data, which excludes career appointees-those who have risen through the ranks as personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-was collected and analysed between 1957 and 2017.
The study, entitled: ‘A gender analysis of political appointments in Ghana since independence’, was co-authored by Charity Elikem Dzradosi, Martin Wiredu Agyekum and Petronella Munemo and published by the Institute of Local Government and Friedrich Erbert Stiftung (FES) in 2018.
Interestingly, since independence, not so much had been achieved with appointment of women to occupy sensitive political positions as female ministers and deputies.
The first Republic had 19.05% women appointees, 2nd Republic had only men, 3rd Republic recorded 2.94% and 4th Republic had between 8.33% (1981), 15% (1993) and 19.23% (2017) as ministers and deputies.
The issue is not different with appointments of District Chief Executives (DCEs) in the decentralisation process of the country, as for instance, the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly has never had a female assembly member.
Discussants of the book at the launch last Thursday in Accra, were Samuel Okudzato Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongue and Ranking Member of Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Miss Gloria Ofori-Boadu, lawyer and lecturer, and Victoria L. Hamah, Executive Director for Progressive Organisation for Women’s Advancement.
Mr Ablakwa, in handling the subject on ambassadorial appointments, could not understand what was so masculine or ‘machoistic’ about serving as ambassador or high commissioner that various governments have failed to appoint more women.
According to him, ambassadorial position, per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, is a role that can perfectly be performed by women.
Mr Ablakwa, furthermore, rubbished the idea of lack of competent women, saying that Ghana does not lack a pool of competent women, as the country is achieving the norm of 40% of students in the universities to be females, as well as they being the topmost recipients of awards at almost all speech and prize giving day.
On affirmative action, the MP charged gender groups not to just ask for political parties’ commitments and demand concrete specifics from the political leadership, especially the flag-bearers and also attach consequences in the event they emerge victorious and failed to act.
“What we politicians feared is to be told by electorate that they will vote against us, because we have not kept your promise. So that is where we must go and it’s important we do that.
“In any case, some of these men who are being paraded as leaders in our country, and being given top appointments and all of that, how many women are they better than, and what are the levels of competence that had been shown? We have to be very sincere,” he stated.
He added that it was time the groups considered legislation that would compel the political parties to reserve a quota of their strongholds for women to contest, because the tokenism of the political parties are not enough.
Acting Director of ILGS, Dr Abdulai Darimani said the book traced from history, the political decisions that were made which excluded key actors, especially women from the development process, by assessing efforts by successive governments in mainstream gender.
“The books are stock of reference for our day-to-day personal life, conduct of official business, as well as short-to-long-term planning and development decision. They provide lessons and data, which are valuable for objective decisions,” he pointed out.
Miss Ofori-Boadu, on her part, also called for legislation that would guide local government appointments of women into the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.
By Bernice Bessey / www.thechronicle.com.gh