The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful says women activists in both major parties; National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party should work together to push for greater participation of women in politics.
Her comment follows the selection of Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as John Mahama’s running mate which has been met with a cocktail of criticisms and debates.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Saturday, the Minister explained that there is an impression being created that Jane Opoku-Agyemang’s nomination will automatically win the votes of all women and that by her appointment, the NDC has demonstrated its women-friendly credentials.
These she describes as false.
She illustrated that the NDC, who had the opportunity to choose a female leader in the past failed to do so.
“They had the opportunity to lead the party if they were so enamoured of women’s empowerment,” she said. “But they flatly rejected that opportunity and delivered Nana Konadu a miserable very weak 3% which was a clear demonstration that they rejected her candidature as a person and the gender she represented.”
Though she acknowledges that perhaps the time to appoint a woman to their top rank may have been badly timed, she stressed that if the party had the desire to widen the space for women’s participation in politics, they would have seized the opportunity to do so.
The Communications Minister also explained that women’s organisations have not been showing support for the idea that women should be in top ranking political positions in the country.
Citing the Affirmative Action Policy as an example, she disclosed that when NPP suggested that female candidates for parliament compete against each other, the idea was met by weak support from the women’s movement.
“If that had succeeded we would have had even more women being fielded in the strongholds of both parties who would only be contested by women.”
“The NDC’s women’s wing watched us in silence while we were torn to shreds for even daring to suggest that, “she added.
“None of the women’s organisations in this country ever spoke in support of that concrete way of institutionalising representation of women in parliament,” she said.
She encouraged politicians to support measures being proposed to create space for women in politics.