Participants at a recent workshop to increase women’s participation and representation in Parliament have identified socio-cultural, traditional and economical factors as barriers to gender balance.

The participants said the only remedy to the historically low participation of women in all decision making structures in Ghana could be achieved through constitutional, legislative and voluntary political party quotas.

In a resolution copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Monday, the participants proposed that the Electoral Commission should in future create new electoral areas for women while the District Assemblies also apportioned electoral areas equally among men and women.

“Fifty per cent of government appointees to the assembly must be female, 50 per cent of DCES appointed must be women while 50 per cent of Presiding Members are be reserved for women.

“Fifty per cent of political party safe seats should be reserved for women, 50 per cent of all elective and appointed public positions should be allocated to women. Current women MPs should be retained and where and when they decide not to contest again only females should contest those seats,” it added.

Representatives from political parties and other stakeholders, under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs and The European Union (Women’s Empowerment Programme), attended the two- day workshop under theme “Towards Increased Women’s Participation and Representation in Parliament.

The participants also called for the setting up mentoring programmes, governance, leadership and capacity building workshops and associations for the women, young women and the girl child to enable Political Parties to increase the eligibility pool of women capable of filling leadership positions.

“To increase the visibility of successful women in public office, the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Local Government Ministry, NALAG, Civil Society Organisations, Parliament and the Development Partners should provide increased media platforms and coverage from the grassroots to national levels,”.

The group said: “To ensure sanity in our politics and to encourage greater participation of women we deplore the use of sexist and abusive language against women seeking public office or in public office and call for the strict enforcement of the laws on Defamation.”

Source: GNA