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“I will not pretend I have all the answers at anything”: The “Little Girl from Kotokuraba” Solicits the Support of Women Ahead of 2020 General Elections

Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang addressing women groups in Accra during Women in Conversation with Naana Jane. 

“I will never pretend I have all the answers at anything, if I did, this meeting would not have been necessary”, as stated by Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, running mate of the biggest opposition political party in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress.

Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang was addressing women groups in her maiden conversation with women dubbed “Women in Conversation with Naana Jane” at Accra, in the Greater Accra region. The meeting was fashioned to link minds, dreams, ideas, and efforts to understand issues mitigating against women development.

It also provided women in both Ghana’s formal and informal sectors an opportunity to engage a political party ahead of Ghana’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections scheduled for December 7. The 2020 election will witness Ghanaians electing a 6th president of the Fourth Republic. Three women are leading their various political parties as the flagbearers in the 2020, General Elections, while one is vying as a running mate.

Leadership of head porters, women in architecture and survey, women lawyers, dress makers, traders, accountants, queen mothers, women from the creative arts industry, women with disabilities, women’s rights activists, civil society organizations, women in media, physicians and nurses, and women in agriculture came together to share knowledge on how the lives of Ghanaian women and girls could be improved.

Some of the prominent topics were; Gender Based Violence, Fees Paid for Medical Tests by Rape/Defilement Victims, Fewer Numbers of Women in Governance, Girls Education, Reproductive Health and Retention, Export Taxes, Policies and programmes to improve the numbers of girls in Technical and Vocational Training, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Alleged Disregard to Education Laurels by the Ghana Education Service, and the Passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.

Inculcating sign language into the training of medical practitioners to bridge the gap in communication and improve healthcare services to persons with hearing impairment, creating a Women Desk at the office of the Vice President, and outlining policies and packages towards making TVET appealing were among suggestions capable of changing the narrative according to participants

The running mate made whistle stops at the various tables to directly engage the women and sell the policies of the National Democratic Congress to them. In her response, Madam Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang indicated her resolve to championing the development of women. She encouraged all to critically peruse the People’s Manifesto adding “all that you have mentioned here have been captured in our manifesto”.

While acknowledging strives made on women and girls empowerment, citing the Beijing Declaration of Action Platform, the running mate who affectionately refers to herself as “a girl from Kotokuraba” in the Central region insisted “Ghana could do better”.

The West African country according to its state statistical service has about twenty nine million people with about 51.2 per cent of its population being women. Ghana ranks 141st in the world in terms of women’s representation in Parliament, with only thirty-eight (38) women out of the two hundred and seventy-five (275) Members of Parliament, representing a woeful 13.8%.

At the Local Governance Level, the situation is no different as women have less than 7% representation. In the area of ministerial appointments, even though progress has been made in appointing women into high level positions, their representation is still inadequate as it stands at 19.35%, a report by Dr Rose Mensah- Kutin,West Africa Regional Director for Abantu for Development reveals.

Bemoaning the visibility of women at the top of governance, the Educationist called for a renewed perception of women in politics.

“Sometimes to accept the position becomes a problem and we all know the reasons. We’re not able to meet the quota because of the way we perceive women in politics. All of these will have to transform if we want to see more women in the position of power”

She wooed the women leaders to vote for the NDC since the office of the Vice President of Ghana provides the opportunity to address these pertinent issues.

The NDC in its manifesto christened the “People’s Manifesto” has indicated it will reserve 30 per cent of its government appointment to women” reinforcing the position of Ghana’s 1992, Constitution which stipulates in Article 35(6) that, “the State shall take appropriate measures to achieve reasonable gender balance in the recruitment and appointment to public offices.”

Article 17 deals with equality and freedom from discrimination. Sub-article 2 prohibits discrimination on grounds of gender (and certain other specified characteristics). Ghana ranks 141st in the world in terms of women’s representation in Parliament, with only thirty-eight (38) women out of the two hundred and seventy-five (275) Members of Parliament, representing a woeful 13.8%.

At the Local Governance level, the situation is no different as women have less than 7% representation. In the area of ministerial appointments, even though progress has been made in appointing women into high level positions, their representation is still inadequate as it stands at 19.35%, a report by Dr Rose Mensah- Kutin,West Africa Regional Director for Abantu for Development reveals.

Policies like the Affirmative Action Bill to provide backing for the 30 per cent women representation in governance has yet to be passed after a decade.

“Ghana has come far. We have done a lot in twenty five years of the Beijing Declaration of the Platform for Action. More girls have been in school, more women in professional positions and many people have made it possible but we can do more and better and the time is now”, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang charged participants.

To address the yearning gap, suggestions like being “women biased vice president” were tabelled by leadership of the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT).

By: Zubaida Afua Mabuno Ismail|www.zamireports.com| Ghana.

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