Pan African Women’s Ecumenical Empowerment Network

For real development to be realized in Africa, women need to be given their rightful place at the decision making table at country and continental levels, a young Ghanaian state official said late Saturday.

Speaking to Xinhua after the African Union Women Delegates Conference in Accra where she addressed young female delegates from 50 African countries, Lydia Atiemo, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Deputy CEO) of Ghana’s Youth Employment Agency (YEA) spoke strongly about the need for African women to participate in national and continental politics.

“Women must be part of the development process from inception stage through implementation stage, not just filling the space but participating in sharing ideas and expertise to move our countries forward,” she said.

Acknowledging the positive steps being taken in Ghana, including the Affirmative Action to create more room for female participation in governance at all levels, she also urged women to position themselves well to take advantage of the opportunities.

“Too many women find it difficult to come out in the open to participate in politics because of the wrong impression that women in politics tend to be sexually promiscuous,” she said, calling on society to encourage women who have been bold enough to venture into national governance.

She said women who are in positions of trust must not just occupy the space but become influencers of decision: “Be there because you want to effect change and be part of the change.”

Tessa Dooms, Managing Director of Youth Lab, a South Africa-based policy think tank, at the conference also urged fellow African women to stop thinking that somebody needed to favor them in politics.

“Women who are for change in the status quo must not seek favors but must strive to carve a niche for themselves in order to make it in leadership,” Dooms said.

She urged young ladies also to learn to engage in volunteerism and humanitarian work as a foundation to leadership, advocating for women to be one another’s keeper.

Dooms added that women seeking to be in leadership should learn to develop strong personalities to be able to withstand the scorn and name-calling that come from their competitors.

Also in an interview, Fatimatu Abubakar, Deputy Director of Communications for Ghana’s President, cautioned young women against networking with corrupt politicians.

In Ghana, Abubakar expressed satisfaction that women have the liberty to do what they desire to do in politics, although women still stay back from taking advantage of the opportunity to seek election into offices such as parliament. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/



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