By Joyce Bedeley:
Ms. Seyram Awushie Agbemenya is leading the implementation of the programme, “WIL4Change”- Women in Leadership for Change. The project which forms part of the Ghana Women´s Social Leadership Programme (GWSLP) is supported by the NYU Wagner, Fundación Mujeres por África and Banco Santander based in Spain.
In the Yilo Krobo Municipality, the WIL4Change programme is being implemented in collaboration with the Chrismek Foundation, an NGO based in Somanya and which focuses on issues of human rights and social inclusion.
The WIL4Change programme is aimed at strengthening the capacity of women to enhance their representation in the Yilo Krobo Municipality. To kick start the project, a roundtable workshop to discuss pertinent issues and challenges facing women and their effective participation in local governance was organized at the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly.
The roundtable stakeholder workshop brought together representatives from various stakeholder groups including the officials of the District Assembly, Assembly Members, NCCE, local civil society groups, women’s groups and traditional authorities amongst others.
Presenting statistics to buttress the point that women were largely absent in positions in key decision making processes, Madam Seyram Awushie Agbemenya – Programme Officer of ARAP, stated that a study by The Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA) indicated that only 6.6% of the total elected representatives in Ghana are women with a staggering 93.3% being men.
She further stressed that over the years, women’s rights and gender equality issues have not been prioritised in the governance processes of Ghana. This state of affairs is much more evident in the country’s local governance system, where women’s representation remains extremely low. With the Total number of elected Assembly representatives in Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly being 2 and the male counterparts numbering over 40, the picture however is no different in Yilo Krobo and more action is required to change the status quo.
Madam Seyram explained, adding that the aims and objectives of the programme is to push for more women into leadership positions and called on all stakeholders to support the process, as the desired results of high and quality representation of women in Local Government cannot be achieved by any individual but the support of all local and national stakeholders.
Today’s meeting was therefore the first stakeholders meeting to deliberate on the key issues hindering women from taking up leadership positions in the Yilo Municipality. and secure commitments to support the programme.
She asserted that women in positions are often very efficient and deliver as expected, urging that women must be supported to take up such leadership positions. In her conclusion, she called upon all and sundry including advocates and women’s rights activists to encourage more women and girls to take up leadership positions and also support them specially to take up leadership position in the Assembly. This she related to Dr. Aggrey’s famous saying, ‘If you educate a man, you have educated an individual but if you educate a woman, you have educated a whole nation.’