15 August 2014

Ghana: Female MPs Are Too Quiet in Public Discourse - MFWA

press release

A recent monitoring report by the MFWA revealed a further decline in women's participation in public policy discourse on radio. Given the acknowledged agenda setting power of the media and the several research findings that have pointed to the influential role of radio in Ghana's governance processes, the findings in the monitoring report is extremely worrying.

Also, at a time when gender inclusiveness in public policy making and development processes is so crucial, Ghana cannot afford to continuously have women on the periphery of development conversation.

Indeed, traditional structures and the patriarchal nature of the Ghanaian society continue to impede the progress of women in many ways. However, women who have already braved the odds to occupy influential positions in governance should continuously serve as trail blazers paving the way for greater women participation in national affairs.

This is why the MFWA is worried about the seeming inactiveness of our female Members of Parliament (MPs) when it comes to public debates on national policy and development issues in the media. While media spaces for women participation may be small, it is still crucial for our female MPs to assert themselves and amplify their voices within the limited spaces available.

While we acknowledge that women's representation in Parliament remains abysmally low, it is important to highlight that the fewer numbers also provide greater opportunity for the female MPs to be assertive in public debates.

In the first parliament of the Fourth Republic for example, women's representation was still low but the late Hon. Madam Hawa Yakubu, demonstrated how influential a female legislator could be on national development issues. In the process, Hon. Yakubu inspired many women to develop self-confidence, to believe in themselves and be involved in the politics of this country.

The MFWA, therefore, calls on our current women in parliament to be more vocal in public policy and development debates in the media. This will be one of the surest ways they can help inspire and pull up other women to enhance gender inclusiveness in all aspects of Ghana's development processes.

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