Gender Advocates and Women Parliamentary Aspirants at the weekend called on the government to accelerate the passage of the Affirmative Action law.

The passage of such laws will pave the way for increased representation of women in decision making process and also ensure the realisation of the United Nations mandate for 30 per cent women’s representation in politics and decision making.

The call was made at the end of a four-day capacity workshop on the theme, “Strengthening the capacity of female parliamentary candidates for Election 2012,” organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) at Akosombo.

In a communiqué issued and made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, the women parliamentary aspirants proposed that to ensure that more women participate in national elections, the government must reconcile domestic policy and laws with international and regional conventions and agreements that the country has signed at the United Nations and African Union levels.

They tasked political parties to adopt voluntary quotas to encourage more women to participate in parliamentary elections adding, political parties and civil society organisations should establish foundations to mobilise resources and funds to support women to enable them compete effectively in national elections.

The Women Parliamentary Aspirants also urged government to ensure that appointments to public office reflect gender balance and equity.

“That the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Private Newspaper Publishers Association (PRINPAG), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and Management of State-Owned Media must ensure that journalists observe professionalism and the highest ethical standards.”

The Women also called on journalists and the media to make a commitment to publish stories of women in politics and other spheres of life.

“That we, women politicians, resolve not to use insults, violence, indecent language, or exploit ethnicity, in our campaigns and demand that others adhere to the same standards.”

The women also pledged to foster inter and intra-party unity and network to facilitate women’s active and increased representation in Parliament.

“That the government should accelerate the passage of the Freedom of Information and Broadcasting laws to enhance women’s access to information.”

The workshop was organized by the IEA with support from UNDP and the European Union as part of the institute’s broad objective of building the capacity of women parliamentary aspirants towards increased women’s participation and Representation in Governance.

The workshop was on the theme: “Strengthening the capacity of female candidates for Election 2012”.

Brigadier General Francis Agyemfra, IEA Senior Fellow, addressing the participants, emphasised that women’s participation in politics is recognised as a key indicator of democratic governance.

He stressed that women’s representation in terms of their numbers and the quality of their participation in policy decisions are essential.

In his remarks, Mr. Lawrence Lachmansingh, Senior Peace and Governance Advisor of the UNDP, said there was the need to put in place structures to encourage women to effectively participate in governance pointing out that women’s participation in governance is not just an activity but a process of continuous engagement and critical action.

The workshop empowered the women on the justification for more women to participate in parliamentary election, how to design effective campaigns and the necessity to develop relationships with the media, leadership and presentation skills, strategies for resource and fundraising and how to develop campaign messages.