Let’s maximise political influence of women—Prof. Mike Ocquaye

Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Ocquaye is advocating for a special quota for women’s representation in Parliament as a means of enhancing women’s political influence in the country.

Addressing the 70th annual New Year School and Conference held at the University of Ghana in Accra, he also noted the need to have reserved seats which only female politicians can contest to help increase the number of women in Parliament.

“Even as the Affirmative Action bill is now before Parliament, I think it is good for us to examine it carefully and come out with ideas so as to maximise the political influence of women in our dear nation.

“It is my wish that we should have special seats created for women to contest alone, so as to give them opportunity to come to Parliament,” he indicated.

Prof. Ocquaye added: “Today by global standards Ghana is in the last-fifth category for women’s representation in Parliament. And we cannot compare ourselves in any way with Rwanda. Ghanaians deserve better.”

There are currently only 35 female Members of Parliament in the seventh Parliament of Ghana’s fourth republic, from both the majority and minority sides of the house.

This figure represents about 12.75 percent of the total number of 275 parliamentarians, and the situation is even worse in terms of regional representation, according to Fact-CheckGhana, a project by the Media Foundation for West Africa.

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Ghana made marginal progress in the 2016 election by increasing the number of elected women from 30 (10.9%) in 2012 to 37 (13) – the current figure which is still less than half of the 30% threshold set by the United Nations.

The 70th ANYSC, on the theme ‘Building Strong Institutions for Democratic Consolidation in Ghana’, is being organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SDCE) of the College of Education, University of Ghana, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

Prof. Oquaye urged political parties to also have quotas for women in that regard, and advocated that the district assemblies’ one-third of members reserved for the President’s appointees at a given time be reserved for women.

Sub-themes of the week-long event include Legislative Powers and Strong Oversight; Dealing with Corruption and Consolidating Democracy; and Judiciary Independence and Democratic Consolidation.

Others are Building Strong Institutions and strengthening Anti-corruption State Institutions; and 25 years of Decentralisation – Challenges and Prospects; and Promoting Active Citizenship through Civic Education – The Role of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Consolidating Ghana’s Democratic Gains.

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