Women Need To Make Their Own Decisions

Another Women Council has just been inaugurated, and this time under the UDP- Led coalition.  Yet the marginalization of women in the African continent continues unabated.

The political landscape calls for women’s political participation to bring legitimacy to government and reinforce democracy in its real and practicable form. Women’s participation renders validity and trust in the democratic process bearing in mind that if women, who are more than 50% of the population, stay marginalized or segregated from the political and public institutions in society, then the process of building a true and democratic society becomes derailed or inept to function for all. In addition to this the degree and level of women’s representation in the government has considerable and significant impacts on the lives of the people in any operational political and public milieu.

Section 28 (1&2) of the Constitution guarantees the rights of women to enjoy full and equal dignity with men as well as equal opportunity to political office etc. For a woman’s image to be used to change our laws and only to send her packing for a male dominated government can well be cited as a moral injustice to our goals for the emancipation of the African woman.

The Ministry for Women’s Affairs must be headed by a woman minister of State. The apparent invisibility of women in politics is a worldwide phenomenon. Women participation has been minimal at the public policy and decision-making levels. Lack of commitment for increased women participation and absence of sufficient political knowledge about women representation have been some of the problems for poor participation of women in the politics.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); the most comprehensive treaty on women’s human rights, which came into force in 1981, has been ratified or acceded to by 165 states worldwide. It calls for equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and it emphasizes the importance of equal participation of women with men in public life.

States that are parties to the Convention are obligated to ensure women equal opportunities in the right to vote and be eligible for election, the Beijing Platform of Action which focused on full recognition of women’s rights and fundamental freedoms, and demands for progress towards gender equality in education and health care, in work and the family, and in the public sphere.

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