The Executive Director of Advocates for Gender Equity, Mrs. Elizabeth Akpalu, has called on women to strategically position themselves to take up leadership roles in the newly inaugurated districts in the country.
She was speaking at the second of six monthly press conferences on “Women’s Agenda for Election 2012” to put a searchlight on the electoral processes to ensure equal participation of men and women as citizens of the country.
Mrs. Akpalu, who chaired the occasion, said Abantu for Development had researched into why few women contested for political leadership roles and why most of those who attempted failed.
She noted that women formed a larger portion of the country’s population and therefore needed to be represented accordingly and used the opportunity to entreat women to upgrade themselves with the necessary education and skills to qualify for such roles since she believed women had equal potentials as their male counterparts.
Addressing the media, Mrs. Agnes Lartey, Presiding member of the Ledzokuku- Krowor municipality, said that women’s political representation had become a matter of priority since statistics showed that less than 10 per cent of women represented in main structures of the country.
She said the diminutive percentage of women was not as a result of interest decline on the part of women but the number of women who are elected.
“When you observe the trend and the statistics critically, you will notice that women’s interest has not declined, it has increased, only their election dwindles, more like declining”, she stated.
Mrs .Lartey mentioned that the main factor that accounted for women’s low representation in politics were cultural beliefs and practices that militate against women taking up leadership responsibilities right from the home where men are seen as the breadwinners of the family.
Other factors mentioned were the disincentives of politics such as insults and name calling which women found embarrassing and low socio-economic status of women making it difficult for women to run effective campaigns.
She appealed to donors to rethink their decision so that they offer financial support to women candidates on time to enable them carry out effective campaigns.
This, she said would not be perpetuating the money-centredness of politics today rather facing the reality to get capable women on board.
Mrs. Lartey suggested that women who lost in the recent primaries form a strong support for those who won and encourage themselves while preparing for subsequent elections.
She also entreated the women’s wing of the various political parties to have a pool of women recourses who would be encouraged to take up positions in the main party streams and not limit themselves to just the wings but aspire high.