Mr Ebenezer Teye Addo, Western Regional Minister, on Thursday called urged women to contest for political positions particularly at the upcoming 2014 District Level Elections.
He made the call when launching the Leadership Development for Inclusion and Participation of Women in Local Political Governance Project at the Residency at Sekondi.
The three-year project is being implemented by the African Women International (AFWI) and funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The overall objectives of the project, which would be implemented in the Mpohor and Ahanta West districts of the Western Region, include empowering 360 women and creating chances to increase the number of elected and appointed females by at least 10 per cent in two metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the Western and Central regions in the 2014 local government elections.
It is also to create space and voice to effective engagement and leadership development for women and girls in schools for increased future participation in political decision making in the Western and Central regions.
Communities would also be educated on the field about the role of women in social and political decision making processes and positions so as to hopefully get them to support women candidates in the local government elections.
Mr Addo said he hoped women would take advantage of opportunities being offered them to participate in decision making processes in the country, especially at the district assembly level.
He said women’s participation in politics is essential to building sustaining democracy and “Results in tangible gains for democracy including greater responsiveness to citizens needs and increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines”.
Mr Addo said, “It is therefore compelling to increase participation of women in politics by removing the challenges that confront women, increasing access to position or power to more women, ensuring transparency in political and legislative processes in the advancement of women and make women financially capable or have access to economic resources”.
He said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government had been proactive in this direction and that was reflected in its appointments of women to political and public offices.
Mr Addo said the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) was ready to cooperate with any institution that would pursue the agenda of developing women.
Mrs Josephine Armo, Regional Director of the Department of Gender, said women faced a lot of challenges when they want to enhance their participation in governance or politics.
She said the challenges included marital, financial and societal challenges, lack of political will and religious factors.
Mrs Armo urged women to go into politics or accept positions in governance and to support their fellow women when they took up leadership positions.
She also appealed to chiefs and queen mothers to encourage their communities to accept women candidates in elections. Mrs Armo said husbands should also encourage their wives to take up governance positions and support them.
She asked traditional authorities to encourage or groom and support women to fit into governance positions adding, “When more women engage in decision-making, especially in governance and politics, Ghana would be a better place for all of us”.
Nana Kofi Abuna V, Chief of Essipong, who presided, advised women to consult or inform their husbands before going into politics.