In the August 2023 edition of Talk WPS, Rita Ama Nupe Demuyakor, a lawyer, Law and Development expert, and gender activist, emphasized the importance of aligning Ghana’s domestic laws with international instruments and national policies promoting women’s political representation. She called upon the government and lawmakers to show genuine commitment to these goals.
Rita, the Executive Director of Advocate for Fair Legal Access and Consult (AFLAC), on 31st August 2023 appeared as the main speaker on Talk WPS to discuss the topic “Women in local governance: a legal perspective”. This topic was chosen to delve into legal frameworks and mechanisms promoting gender equality and women’s active participation in local governance.
According to her, Ghana’s association with international instruments such as CEDAW, UNSCR 1325, and ICCPR, alongside its national frameworks like the 1992 constitution, Electoral Commission Act, and national gender policy, all advocate for at least 30% representation of women in parliament. Rita urged participants to assess whether Ghana has fulfilled its political obligations to its citizens by effectively implementing these frameworks.
To truly deliver on gender equality commitments to its citizens, Rita stressed the need for a significant increase in women’s participation in politics. She argued that having a higher percentage of women in political positions would help address many of the socio-economic challenges faced by women and girls, especially at the grassroots level.
However, during the discussion, it became evident that several barriers hinder women’s representation in local government. Sociocultural norms, insufficient resources for women to engage in politics, and a lack of knowledge about their rights were identified as significant obstacles. These challenges collectively underscore the low level of political accountability for women’s participation in Ghana. As well as the fact that Ghana has still not passed the Affirmative Action Bill into law since efforts to make it into law 12 years ago.
In conclusion, the question of whether Ghana has truly delivered on its gender equality commitments remains a crucial one. While the country has adopted various legal frameworks and international instruments advocating for women’s representation, the challenges discussed highlight the need for more substantial efforts to translate these commitments into meaningful change for women in Ghanaian politics. Achieving true political accountability for gender equality remains a work in progress that requires continued dedication and action from all stakeholders, especially the government.