Member of Parliament (MP) for Krowor Naa Momo Agnes Lartey has expressed worry that if nothing is done drastically, the next Parliament of the Republic of Ghana – the 9th Parliament, the number of females might decrease. Current the two major political parties have twenty (20) seats each out of the two hundred and seventy-five seats (275) which represent less that fifteen (15) percent.
The Krowor lawmaker said this in an interview at the just ended 145th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Rwanda which was on the theme, “gender equality and gender-sensitive parliaments as drivers of change for a more resilient and peaceful world”. She added that the number of Female Parliamentarians would not increase automatically, “what I know for sure is that it can decrease if nothing is done and nothing has changed, competition is going to be very keen, both side of the House would be going for their primaries. I believe next year it’s going to be very keen”.
She pointed out that as MPs they spend so much resources that they don’t even have, whiles those who would be contesting them are gathering resources down ahead of their primaries. She said as MPs it is always their hope and desire to leave a mark in the constituencies through their work and one has to depend on their personal resources in most cases.
“So after the elections, it is my prayer and very honest prayer that most women would come back so that the number we have now in the House as forty remains or even higher. We would be able to add on to the number rather than decrease it other than that is going to be like this same trend” As they have fewer women being able to retain their seats and more men retaining their seats, so women’s experience in the House would be few every time they need to change candidates except for those areas that are safe seats.“I do not think we should just seat down and wish the number of seats for women should just increase, women everywhere in the country who have the intention of being in parliament need to take a step”. But the fact is most female MPs are tired of the talk shops; we are tired, we need pragmatic steps that would help us. Women should contest themselves that is fair and those who would be contesting and would be successful they are given the needed support and complement but not always workshop and nothing.
Yes we need the workshop and knowledge to be able to psych ourselves up as not everybody has that knowledge but beyond that, donors should know it’s not only enough to leave it at the workshop, “we need more action on the ground and also look at political party financing where there would be quota for women to be supported when we are contesting; I think we need to move a step further”, she said.
The Krowor MP further thanked the Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu and Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu for the opportunity offered her and other females colleagues in all four females, four males. They incluse Member of Parliament for Ketu South Dzifa Abla Gomashie, Mfantseman MP Ophelia Mensah and Asoka MP Patricia Appiagyei. Lleadership, she said has proven to be gender sensitive, it’s not just by word of mouth but looking forward to the interest of women.
Rt. Hon Speaker is actually walking the talk and to her this is a good example and also thanked leadership of both sides of the House for the opportunity they have given them as their first time but hopefully she believe would not be their last time, “it has been quite insightful”, she stated. According to her, the whole 145th Assembly focused on building a gender focus parliaments, and “if that is what they are going to do across the world, the leaders need to show by example, and the delegation that came to Rwanda need to ensure that women were included.
“My learning has been enriched here, when I get another opportunity the participation is going to be more active than it is here now”, she noted.