BY KITS MIIRO. The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has yet again taken to the international scene, the fight for equal representation of women in leadership and power. In her key note address on “enhancing women political representation and participation in Ghana” delivered as part of the activities of mark 25 years of Parliamentary Democracy on Thursday night, Kadaga advocated for affirmative action. The Speaker told a gathering of legislators and key leaders in Ghana that legislation and organised state systems are a major vehicle through which states can increase participation of women in leadership and power. “For States to increase women participation, they are required to put into place legislative, judicial and other administrative systems,” Kadaga said. Citing Uganda and Rwanda, the Speaker said laws have systematically ensured an increase in women involvement in the legislature. “Article 78 of the Ugandan Constitution has a provision that ensures as long as there is a district, there must be a woman representative elected through universal suffrage, it is really important that you amend your laws,” she said. She also highlighted other Parliamentary seats in Uganda such as the Army, Youths, workers and People with disabilities which provide for female representation as a requirement. She further noted that many African states have got laws that recognise women representation in leadership but that effort is required to ensure implementation. She urged the Parliament of Ghana to advocate for funding of women to contest in elections as provided for in the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. She said many women are left behind because they cannot afford the associated costs. According to the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana, Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, the prevalence of gender inequality is a huge problem in their country, with not- much-gains made in the representation of women for the last 20 years. Kadaga was invited to sound the trumpet loud enough for social engineering and to emancipate women in Ghana to reach their full potential in politics and other areas of human endeavor, according to Prof Oquaye. Ghana will hold its general elections in two years’ time. Prof Oquaye is spearheading consultations both locally and internationally on how to raise the number of women in Parliament which currently stands at 12 percent of the 275 legislators.
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