Where are African Women in Political Spaces and Places 2

Where are African Women in Political Spaces and Places 2

As Africa approaches its anticipated peak population of 1.6 billion by 2030, a significant demographic trend emerges: women are poised to constitute a substantial majority, accounting for 58% of this burgeoning populace.

However, despite this demographic significance, the continent grapples with a notable disparity in women’s representation within political spheres.

This discussion aims to underscore the pivotal role women can play in fostering balanced political discourse to ensure economic development in Ghana.

Numerous studies affirm that appointing women to top positions in corporate bodies and government agencies not only breaks functional fixedness but also introduces fresh perspectives, mitigates corrupt practices, and fosters long-term efficiencies.

Despite the undeniable importance of women as naturally caring, conscientious, and balanced decision-makers, female representation within political parties in Ghana remains a pressing concern.

While some parties have taken steps to promote gender inclusivity and boost women’s participation in party leadership positions, significant disparities persist, particularly regarding women’s access to nomination processes and leadership roles.

Although women’s participation as running mates in Ghanaian political elections remains relatively limited, there is a noticeable shift towards greater gender inclusivity in political leadership. Sustained efforts to address systemic barriers and promote women’s empowerment are crucial for unlocking the full potential of women as political leaders and advancing gender equality in Ghana’s democratic processes. In this regard, it is commendable that former President John Dramani Mahama selected Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang as his running mate for this year’s election, setting an example that I hope the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and other political parties will follow.

However, despite growing recognition of the importance of gender balance, some political proponents remain apprehensive about appointing women into top leadership positions. Some even question the qualifications and readiness of women to lead. While political decisions often revolve around regional, ethnic, and religious considerations, there is a tendency to underestimate and disregard the role of women in the quest for power.

This year, the call for gender balance within the New Patriotic Party’s presidential and running mate ticket has gained unprecedented momentum. As we emphasize the importance of gender representation, a critical question arises: “Are there qualified women capable of assuming the role of a running mate within the NPP?” To address this question objectively, let us examine the backgrounds of a few randomly selected potential women whose rich experiences could prove vital to Ghana’s democratic processes and national development.

Akosua Frema Osei-Opare: With a career spanning over four decades, Hon Akosua Frema Osei-Opare boasts an impressive background in academia, international diplomacy, and public service. She has made significant contributions both nationally and internationally, including serving as the Chief of Staff at the presidency since 2017. With her amazing track record of delivering value as Chief of Staff, she has the capabilities to serve in high offices such as vice president.

Rev. Dr Joyce Rosalind Aryee: As the Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministries, Rev. Dr Joyce Rosalind Aryee brings over four decades of experience in management and communication consulting. Her distinguished career includes groundbreaking achievements, such as being the first female CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful: Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful is a renowned lawyer and advocate for women’s rights with a wealth of experience in conflict resolution, peace, and security. She has served as the Minister for Communications and Digitalization since 2017.

Irene Naa Torshie Addo: Hon. Irene Naa Torshie Addo’s distinguished career spans law, diplomacy, and public service. With her track record of delivering value, she has the capabilities to serve in high offices such as vice president.

These exemplary women possess the necessary qualifications and experiences to serve as running mates. Their distinctive qualities, extensive experiences, and deep connections within the Ghanaian and international community make them formidable candidates for the vice presidency.

Opting for a female running mate would not only promote gender balance but also invigorate women’s active participation in Ghana’s democratic processes and economic development.

In summary, there is a clear call for political leaders to follow the example set by former President John Mahama and embrace gender inclusivity in selecting running mates. The tradition of exclusively male candidates occupying such roles in Ghana must evolve. As the saying goes, “The ball is always in their court.”

The writer – Dr Kweku Adams is an Associate Professor in International Business & Management at the University of Bradford School of Management. His scholarly works on gender diversity have been published in several world-leading Journals and presented at several academic and practitioner conferences. Dr Adams is currently on the Editorial Review Boards of the Thunderbird International Business Review and the Africa Journal of Management. He is the President of the Ghana Scholarly Society.

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