PRESIDENT MUST CONSIDER THE GENDER MINISTER IN IT’S CABINET
Women have traditionally been underrepresented among government ministers, and when included in cabinets have largely been relegated to “feminine” and low-prestige policy areas. Recently, however, some countries have witnessed changes in the number, gender, and/or prestige of women’s appointments. What accounts for this variation in women’s access to ministerial power? To answer this question, we posit three competing theoretical explanations: political institutions, social indicators of gender equality, and broader trends in women’s political recruitment. To test these hypotheses, we compile a dataset of the previous government and the present government and construct a new measure—the Gender Power Score—which differentially weights cabinet positions based on women’s numbers and the gender and prestige of the ministries to which they are assigned. Using a finite mixture model to evaluate competing hypotheses, we find that political variables—rather than social factors—have the strongest impact on gender parity in cabinets.
Women continue to be under-represented globally in political leadership positions. Data from the current government leadership shows that women made up 14.55% of all parliamentarians and 30% of government ministers, and 3% of government cabinet ministers in June 2021. Although far from parity and gender-balance, this represents an all-time high for women in politics. Historically, women have been found to hold fewer cabinet positions, and where they have been appointed, they are mainly allocated portfolios with feminine characteristics and lower levels of prestige. These traditional distributions suggest that women have rarely been viewed as part of the nomination pool for cabinet appointments. Further, where they have been considered women have largely been relegated to the least powerful positions.
We find no evidence that men who appoint more women are criticized for doing so; rather, they’re applauded for being modern and inclusive. In fact, such leaders occasionally boast of their numbers of women. When women are present in greater numbers they are able to have a direct influence on governments by bringing their concerns to the table and taking action. I draft this communiqué to appeal to the president to appoint the minister of gender, children and social protection and other women who are ministers to be part of his cabinet ministers. Once the minister of gender, children and social protection becomes part of the cabinet it will be more easier for parliament to start processing and accept the affirmative action bill.
Affirmative Action Is Panacea for Increasing Women Numbers in Decision-Making
It has been established that without mandatory Affirmative Action, expected changes that can lead to an increase in women’s representation in national politics will not occur.
Ghana may also miss out on achieving its Millennium Development Goal (MDG 3) target with regard to the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament. MDG 3 mandates all countries to promote gender equality and empower women.
VIDA OPOKU AGYEMANG (SKILLS MAMA
DEPUTY TESCON COORDINATOR, ASHANTI REGION