Women especially those from the North, have been asked not to allow the poor conditions in which most of them grew up, to be a psychological hindrance to their active participation in the decision making process.

Madam Agnes Ganda, a gender advocate and Programme Manager of Girls Growth and Development (GIGDEV), who made the request said: “Potential women in governance will need to be mindful of this and also blend cultural expectations with the socio-political dynamism of our time, to stand the test and task of being active participants in governance.”

Madam Ganda was speaking at a two-day workshop on “Governance and capacity building for women,” organised by GIGDEV and Ibis Ghana, two non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in Tamale on Friday.

The workshop was on the theme: “Promoting women’s participation in decision making and local level elections.”

The participants would among other things be treated to topics like: “The district assemblies’ structure and the active participation of women in governance”; “lobbying, fundraising and resource mobilisation”; “socio-cultural issues affecting women’s participation in governance and the way forward and women’s rights and responsibilities.”

Madam Ganda cautioned women against the abuse of their house helps as the practice stifles their self confidence and future development.

She therefore urged female public office holders to serve as mentors to young girls by guiding them to be part of the decision making process.

“Some of us misuse the vulnerable girls that we have as house helps and make them feel totally out of the decision making process in our families and that of the communities that they belong.

“The treatment given to them in all aspects is never the same as that of our children,” she said.

Dr Al-Hussein Zakaria, Chairman of the Northern Region Inter-Religious Dialogue Committee said one of the ways women could increase their participation in politics is to provide appropriate leadership and mentoring of women groups and individuals to get into the high level of national affairs.

He challenged women leaders and gender sensitive males to work hard to support other less endowed women to gain their political and socio-economic emancipation.

Alhaji Abudulai Harrunah Friday, Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, observed that certain socio-cultural practices in the North had made it difficult for women to participate in the district level elections and called on NGOs and other stakeholders involved in the nurturing of democracy in the country to help reverse the barriers.

He observed the 2000 national census revealed that women constituted more than 50 per cent of the country’s population and expressed regret that there is low representation of women in the assemblies.

“This implies that we are not making use of the larger group of our population by failing to involve them in governance to contribute their quota to the development of the country,” he said.

Source: GNA