A day of training for women aspiring to leadership roles in the community was organized by Duapa Mothers Union executives, an NGO with headquarters in Kwame Danso in Sene West District.
It covered women especially vying for parliamentary posts, political appointments, District assembly membership, unit committee, and other leadership positions that can be competed for, and it was held on October 12, 2023.
The program was a component of the “Women Inclusion and Social Equity (WISE)” 15-month project. Its funding comes from the STAR Ghana Foundation and it aims to increase women’s interest and engagement in the Sene West District’s governance at all levels.
Due to the magnitude of discrepancies in women’s representation compared to local governance institutions in the District, Duapa Mothers Union organized the training.
The hardest hit are those with disabilities.
The status quo according to the union does not promote fair society “and so we believe that the District Chief Executive, Traditional leaders, Civil Society Groups and all the political party leaderships must initiate a WISE Action to bridge this gap”.
Philip Duah, Programmes Associates for Duapa Mothers Union said they have realized that social stigma and discrimination are not creating an inclusive society in the area specifically at Kwame Danso.
“Only men are taking decisions for the area, meanwhile women are equally important.
This is not only characterizing the local governance. It has affected the political and religious structures as well.”
He urged all parties involved to make sure that women were encouraged to pursue positions of power in the area.
Twenty women have been chosen and prepared by Duapa Mothers Union so far to run in this year’s elections for the assembly and unit committee.
According to Philip Duah, the Union will ensure that a greater proportion of the women running for the positions are successful.
“It is our hope that in the year coming year 2024, a woman will be the Presiding Member for Sene West District”.
There are no women among the 20 elected Assembly members in the District, according to a press release released on the margins of the ceremony.
Unfortunately, just 2 of the 10 government nominees who were appointed were female, making them representation 2/30 or 6.6%.
The tragic part of the situation is that no woman with a disability has been appointed or elected to serve in the District’s General Assembly.
Read the full statement below:
WOMEN INCLUSION AND SOCIAL EQUITY (WISE) CALL FOR ACTION NOW
We the members of the Duapa Mothers Union based in Kwame Danso in the Sene West District of Bono East Region, thereby make this WISE call for Women Inclusion and Social Equity in the governance process of the Sene West District.
Duapa Mothers Union is a women focused group with a vision to seeing an inclusive society that enables all women and girls to enjoy their full potentials.
With support from Star Ghana Foundation, the Association hopes to contribute to the
development of all women and girls by representing and championing their interest; especially for women and girls with disabilities and mental health conditions.
Our call is made as a result of disparity in representation of women especially women with disabilities in the local governance structures in the District.
This situation does not promote a fair society and so we believe that, the District Chief Executive, traditional leaders, religious leaders, civil society groups and all the political party leaderships must initiate a WISE Action to bridge this gab.
Duapa Mothers Union is devastated with the current situation in the Sene West District where Out of a total of 20 elected Assembly members currently in Sene West District, there is no Woman among them.
Unfortunately, only 2 women were appointed out of 10 appointed government nominees.
This means that, women represent 2/30 or 6.6% within the Sene West District Assembly.
The sad of the matter is that, there is no woman with disability (0%) appointed or elected to serve in the General Assembly.
Out of a total of 100 elected Unit Committee members within 20 electoral areas in the Sene West District, there is only 1 person being a woman, representing 1% and unfortunately there is no woman with disability.
Only 25 women out of 208 people (rep. 12%) serving on Town Development committees are women. Unfortunately; none of them is a Woman with disability.
This situation can be attributed to Existing myths and misconceptions associated with women ability to lead and disability which has generated self-stigmatization among more women in the district especially women with disabilities and mental health conditions.
Community stigma is physically demonstrated by the use of derogatory language (negative words and phrases for women in politics especially women with disabilities and mental health conditions) to reference victims, with obvious disregard for their sentiments.
In churches and other religious spaces, sermons project women as second class of people that cannot lead especially and disability as a curse or punishment.
The stigma extends to dependents of women in politics and caregivers of women with disabilities and mental health conditions.
By this press release, we are demanding the following:
- Entreating all Community leaders to create a culture of support at community levels that provides equal opportunities for women to take actively part in the upcoming District Assembly elections.
We encourage all communities to do away with negative words and phrases that discourages women to freely contest for positions of the choice.
We are calling on families and men to support women’s agenda and their passion to serve their
communities irrespective of their conditions or disability.
- We are calling on the Member of Parliament for Sene West, The District Chief Executive, political parties and all stakeholders to allocate more slots for women appointment including women with disabilities as District Assembly members for the Sene West District.
- We are encouraging women especially women with disabilities including women with mental health conditions to rise up, participate and change the social narratives surrounding women participation in governance.
Duapa believes that, women including women with disabilities have the potentials and disability is not inability.
The Association belief that, gender, physical and mental conditions should not be a challenge for women to enjoy their full potentials.