Three prominent women ministers have defended President Nana Akufo-Addo after he was criticised for demanding more dynamism from women in the search for gender parity in governance.
At a press conference, the Ministers: for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama; for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful and for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, called on critics to back their criticism with tangible support for women who seek to enter politics.
Ghanaian feminists and gender advocates have said the president’s comments at the 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Canada, erases the work done by activists and ignores the role expected of persons already in positions of power.
But Ursula Owusu described some of the critics as “armchair feminists” who “sit on social media and scream.”
“How is that going to effect change if we don’t have the critical mass of women in decision making and positions of authority?”
She said her experience in politics pointed to a lack of support for women in the space by gender activists who aren’t willing to get their hands dirty.
“I cannot count on one female activist who actively supported my campaign. They are there, arms folded, watching us slug it out,” the Minister said.
Nana Addo’s hard truth
Madam Ayorkor Botchway said the President’s call on women to push harder for prominence in the political space was a hard truth we should all accept.
“We all know that the truth hurts and that is a fact,” she insisted.
“What he said was a call to action; that he is not seeing the dynamism and he was speaking from the point of view from what was happening in Ghana and Africa.”
She maintains that action from women should come before the policy that makes things easier for women involvement in governance.
“If we are not fired up, the government will put in all the policies, the government will put in all the laws and yet nothing will change,” Madam Ayorkor Botchway maintained.
In line with Ursula Owusu’s; sentiment, she added that the critics of the president “stop crying and get to work.”
Hajia Alima ready for debate
Hajia Alima Mahama felt she was better placed for the discourse around gender and challenged critics to a debate on the points of contention.
“I want to meet them in a debate and please, journalists, set up independent panels and invite me,” she said when she addressed the press conference.
“When the president said something, they found their voice talking about things they don’t even understand” the Minister added.