Gender Minister, Otiko Afisah Djaba, has called on female legislators to re-brand themselves as role models for young girls who desire to take up positions in the future.
This will help in bridging the huge gap that exists between female Parliamentarians and their male colleagues, Ms. Djaba noted.
“It was not enough for you to win your seat as a Parliamentarian but you should see your position as a platform to rebrand yourself to become an acceptable role model so that our young girls can desire to take up such positions to help bridge the huge disparity between the number of female MPs as compared to male MPs,” the Gender Minister stated.
She stressed on the need to strengthen female MPs following the key role they play in the development of their constituents, especially the women, children, the poor and vulnerable.
Otiko Djaba made the remark during a day’s capacity building workshop at Senchi, in the Eastern Region. The workshop, which was in collaboration with the Israeli Embassy and The Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Centre, was aimed at empowering the Women Caucus of Ghana’s Parliament. It was on the theme “Strengthening the Role of Female in Parliament.”
Facilitators included First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu; Minister for Aviation, Cecilia Dapaah; Trainer from Israel, Dr. Michal Sela and former Director General of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Major Albert Don-Chebe.
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, on his part challenged the female Legislatures to perform their duties as Parliamentarians more efficiently and effectively.
“In order to become very relevant in Parliament, you need to make very tasty and insightful presentations, speak on issues that make you stand out. Make sure your contribution is very credible before you speak, whatever statement you’re making must bring people to think about the issue you have raised,” he advised.
He said: “as a nation we are a far cry away from seeing men and women as equal, therefore, it is your duty as female leaders to create a good image about women in leadership. When you are in parliament, you need to demonstrate you are strong women and you are here to fight on behalf of all other women in Ghana to help change the perception people have about women.”
The Minister for Aviation and Former MP for Bantama, Cecilia Dapaah during her presentation said, female Parliamentarians needed to develop effective lobbying and negotiation skills to help them create awareness about their intended projects for constituencies, and learn better ways of implementing them to ensure that their constituents do not lose faith in them.
A trainer and resource person from Israel, Madam Michal Sela emphasised on the need for the participants to be fully aware of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
“As an individual, you need to know your make up, what makes you excel and vice versa. Don’t try to be a jack of all trades, you might not make it. Identify your strongest area and specialise in it, it will make you a different from others,” she noted.
Deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adjoa Sarfo, who doubles as the Chairperson of the Women Caucus in Parliament, expressed that some challenges female MPs face include fundraising, balancing motherhood with the needs of constituents and the fierce opposition from male counterparts.
She added that these reasons have deterred lot women from pursuing such positions, but said it was very necessary for the participants to press on and never give in to these challenges.
In the area of Public speaking and media engagement, Major Albert Don-Chebe (Retired), counselled participants to take time to “investigate the people who invite you for media engagements, their target audience, what their program is about and whether the interviewer has a bias towards you.”
“Most importantly, your message must convey your vision, mission and essential facts,” Major Don-Chebe advised.