The Electoral commission of Ghana announced the date for the district level elections to be December 19 2023. Every four years, Ghana votes for representatives at the municipal and district level for the district and unit committee executive members. While these representatives contribute extensively to the development of districts and communities, it is the foundation of Ghana’s democratic progress. Decisions made at the local level go to influence nation wide policies and regulations such as matters of infrastructure, economics, climate change and social welfare.   According to the constitution, to qualify as a candidate you need:To be resident of said district, a registered voter and be above 18 years, a Ghanaian citizen and is tax compliant. This requirement can be considered inclusive to most Ghanaians with ambitions to run for the seats.  The local government system consists of a Regional Coordinating Council, a four-tier Metropolitan and a three-tier Municipal/District Assemblies Structure   Due to their non-partisan association, no financial incentives for nominations and support offered by the electoral commission, the elections offer a chance for fresh political aspirants to launch their political careers. Women empowerment geared towards enhancing  the active participation of women in politics, such positions should attract more women applicants. In the last election, 909 women ran compared to 17,601 male contestants, of these, only 216 women were voted as district representatives and that of young women even lower. This year as per previous elections, women’s numbers are expected to be higher than previous years but will still not match up to the men’s. In this election, women need to come out in larger numbers to contest for  seats thus giving themselves a better chance to occupy more seats in the assemblies. With bills, financial allocation, development and social welfare at the district level being decided by the assemblies, having larger numbers will give leverage on gender mainstreaming in  government projects and processes.   Barriers to women’s political participation are however still evident at this level. With women being most primary caregivers, laborers at informal jobs and restrictive gender norms being a reality, competing with male counterparts thus becomes an unequal errand. Politics at this level are highly influenced by community structures which are patriarchal. Finances also affect a lot with men having more resources to push their manifestos, hire human power and produce campaign materials which in itself infringes on the democratic reasons behind the formulation of District assemblies. In previous years. Women have made up less than 4% of the assemblies failing to achieve a local environment for equal political engagement between women and men for genuine consensus-building to strengthen democracy in the districts   This is however no reason to throw in the towel. Women can leverage current changing times that champion women’s leadership. Communities are now better informed on the importance of giving women platforms than there were years ago. Civic education on the need to vote and sensitization programs on the importance of having women in leadership should be carried. With Ghana’s population being mostly youth, there is a need to encourage this generation to take up public space for them to mold the future they desire. And a desirable future is that which involves women in decision making, resource allocation and development
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