The number of women representation in the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic has seen a slight increase from the 36 in the 7th Parliament to 40 in the just ended general elections.
This seems to be little drops of water that is gradually growing into a mighty pool of feminine representation in Ghana’s Parliament.
According to the European Union Report on the coverage of the just ended general elections, “women are significantly underrepresented in political life, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) fielded only 24 female candidates while the National Democratic Congress (NDC) ran with just 22 in the 275 constituencies. Perceived traditional roles of women and often, a lack of financial resources contributes to the problem. On a positive note, for the first time one of the two main parties’ presidential candidates, the NDC chose a woman as running mate”
Over the years, the dominance of male MPs in Parliament has gradually been waning since the 1st Parliament of the 4th Republic in 1992. This year’s general election has seen women make significant inroads into the gains of the men in the 8th Parliament of the fourth Republic. This year seeing the highest number of women, especially young, vibrant, intelligent and vociferous women in Ghana’s Parliament.
Many of the incumbent women Members of Parliament (MPs) retained their seats by gaining favour by the mighty thumb of their constituents and about nine former women MPs losing their seats in Parliament. Some of the big names who made it back in Parliament are phenomenal women like: Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ablekuma West (NPP), Adwoa Safo, Dome Kwabenya (NPP), Hawa Koomson, Awutu Senya East (NPP), Zanetor Rawlings, Klottey Korle (NDC), Patricia Appiagyei, Asokwa (NPP), Cynthia Mamle Morrison, Agona West (NPP), Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, La Dadekotopon (NDC), Laadi Ayamba, Pusiga (NDC) among others.
A sizable number of women who made it to the 8th Parliament are vibrant MPs like Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui, Awutu Senya West (NDC), Dakoa Newman, Okaikoi South (NPP), Dzifa Gomashie, Ketu South (NDC), Hajia Zuwera, Salaga South (NDC). Among these new entrants are the brave widows who stood in the stead of their demised husbands, these women are Ophelia Hayford, Mfantseman (NPP), Lydia Alhasan, Ayawaso West Wuogon (NPP), Linda Akwele Ocloo, Shai Osudoku (NDC), Lydia Lamisi, Tempane (NDC).
Another re-elected female MP is Francisca Oteng Mensah, Kwabre East who has made history by becoming the youngest Member of Parliament since the 4th Republic.
Although it could be seen that the number of women representation in parliament has increased in the eighth legislature, some few women lost their seats in the just ended election. Among them are Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Prestea Huni Valley, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Krowor, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Barbara Asher Ayisi, Cape Coast North, Deputy Minister for Works and Housing, Catherine Afeku, Evalue Gwira, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Anyaa Sowutuom, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and others.
The number of this year’s female MPs is registered as the highest number in Ghana’s 63 years of independence and it is also a big gain for the Affirmative Action in Ghana politics since the inception of the 4th Republic. This added number of women in our august house shall see the voice of women raised to a representative level, as it is apparent that the Ghanaian voter is gradually witnessing and understanding the power of women when given equal opportunities in society, especially in authority positions.
It is in our own interest as a society and a nation with the majority of its citizens being women, to adequately empower this majority to work to our benefit as a country. For if we try to suppress this feminine majority, it goes against us in many diverse ways with far-reaching effects on the entire society and nation.
To all the women who have been entrusted by their various constituencies to represent them in the eighth parliament of the fourth republic, we hope to hear their voices thunderously heard in that august house and good luck to them.
By: Kaziah Owusu Afram and Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana