Little impact by women on Ghana elections
The Ghana elections won by incumbent, John Kuffour, have been a disappointment as far as women are concerned. On the positive side 100 women contested the parliamentary elections however only 16 were elected being 7% of the total (230). What is even of more concern is that two of the most dynamic and outspoken women, MPs like Madam Hawa Yakubu, former MP for Bawku-Central and Ama Benyiwa-Doe,
former MP for Gomoa West, were not re-elected.
Mariilyn Badoo writing in the Ghana weekly Public Agenda provides an insight into why so few women were elected.
In the case of Ama Benyiwa-Doe, she disclosed that the chief
of her district had told her long before the elections that she is the reason
behind their setback in development since she is in the opposition party (NDC),
and that her continued status as an MP will only mean a setback to development.
"I will, therefore, be surprise if I win the elections" she pointed out.
Other reasons are, women voters are not voting for women; political campaigns are expensive and most women do not have the financial resources that men do to conduct campaigns. There are at least two ways in which the number of elected women could increase. One is to support them by enabling them to stand in "safe seats" – a kind of "affirmative action. Secondly an educational campaign to educate the electorate on the parliamentary process and to encourage women especially to become more political active at a grassroots level.
We should not forget that the gender balance in the US and Britain is also pretty poor. In Britain there are 119 women MPs out of a total of 659 which is just 18% with the labour party having the majority of women. The US is no better with 62 women out of 435 men in the House of representatives (14%) and 13 women out of 100 in the Senate (13%).