From Michael Boateng, Sunyani
Women aspiring to become Assembly members at the various electoral areas from Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions are calling for a new constitution that will make provisions for the nomination, election and appointment of 50% men and 50% women to all nominated, appointed and elected positions to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and their sub-structures.
The call was made at a day’s workshop, organized in Sunyani by the Women’s Assistance and Business Association (WABA), for Aspiring Assembly women in the upcoming local government elections, scheduled for December 28, this year.
The purpose of the workshop was to build the capacity of aspiring members of District Assemblies through mentoring by other honorable members, who have contested and won elections and have already been to the Assembly.
It was also to support and strongly advocate specific constitutional provisions to increase Women’s participation in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies, and other substructures of Ghana’s local government system, as part of the ongoing Constitution Review process in the country.
The President of WABA, Gloria Ofori-Boadu, noted that in practice and reality, the position of District Chief Executives and Presiding Members, are basically for the Officers and men of the Assemblies, despite the observation that the informal sector is dominated by women.
According to Ofori-Boadu, if over 80% of employment and over 70% of the cash in Ghana are in the informal sector which is dominated by women, then the functions of the District Assembly which is to mobilize resources for the overall development of the district, is for women.
She stressed that the function of the District Assembly is a feminine function which women of Ghana have been socialized to perform, as part of their daily chores, saying “if the existing district assemblies are for the “officers and men”, then it makes serious and relevant economic sense for Ghana, as a state, to take extra specific steps to involve women.
The President of WABA suggested that women should be supported, have their capacities built and be encouraged to attain their goals, for them to also encourage, mentor and support other women.
She noted that women become bigger and better as they share their knowledge with other women instead of keeping or hoarding all information, knowledge and other resources to themselves.
She commended that African Women Development Fund for the opportunity given WABA to share with other women leaders and aspirants to the district assemblies experiences.
The Deputy Director at the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs , Juliana Amponsah, said the involvement of women at the various Assemblies fulfills the mission of achieving the equity and equality for rapid development.
According to her, if Ghana can achieve a developed status, it is prudent women and men have equal opportunity to decision making processes and governance, since gender equality is the basic element to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target year.
On her part, the Assembly member of La, in the Accra Metropolis, Freda Prempeh who is preparing to contest the Tano North Parliamentary seat, took the participants through the efficient ways of raising funds for campaign and how to select a campaign team.
She urged women to also develop self-esteem and build higher prestige, whilst they unite and respect each other to attain higher status in the country and beyond.