The five regions in the north have only four female Members of Parliament (MPs).
They include Zewura Ibrahimah in the Salaga South Constituency in Savannah Region, Hajia Lariba Abudu in the Walewale Constituency of the North East Region, Lydia Akanvarib Lamisi Adakudugu in the Tempane Constituency and Lardi Ayii Ayamba of the Pusiga Constituency in the Upper East Region respectively.
Nationally, women’s representation in the current (2021-2024) parliament stands at 40 (14.5 per cent) out of a total of 275 parliamentarians.
These were made known at a forum organised by Community Development and Advocacy Centre (CODAC), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for media practitioners in the Upper East Region, on Saturday.
The forum, dubbed “CODAC-Star Ghana Foundation training on gender responsive reporting for enhancing women’s political participation” with funding from Star Ghana Foundation, attracted media personnel from the various districts in the region.
The stakeholders also expressed worry over the trend of gender gaps and marginalisation which permeated all spheres of life, including the traditional political system and the modern political systems in the country.
A development consultant, Mr Sumaila S. Saaka, who facilitated the programme, observed that the District Assembly and Unit Committee elections in Ghana over the years had also witnessed the same trend.
Mr Saaka, who attributed the trend to socio-cultural and religious norms, stressed that the media could not escape from being gender bias when it came to reporting on female candidates as they received less coverage than their male counterparts. .
Advancing his argument further, the development consultant stated that the women’s electoral success was often compromised by a journalistic emphasis on trivialisation, marginalisation and commodification rather than on women’s policies, positions or issues.
“The triple package of trivialisation, marginalisation and commodification serve to produce a political media discourse which too frequently discredit the capacity of women as credible political actors and undermined democracy by withholding information about them from the public during election campaigns,” he stressed.
He entreated journalists to set agenda that would help promote gender equality by giving equal level grounds in the coverage to all political candidates irrespective of ones status, as well as shun socio-cultural and religious norms that promoted gender imbalance.
The Executive Director of CODAC, Mr Issahaku Bukari, expressed worry that in spite of the fact that women formed the majority of the voting population and in theory have the same rights as men to vote or be voted for or hold public office, in practice this right was not fully enjoyed
He stressed that notwithstanding the fact that democracy required both men and women to participate equally in decision-making at all levels, women continued to be under-represented in most decision-making process and governance structures locally, nationally and internationally.