The Progressive Organisation for Women’s Advancement (POWA) joins all progressives in Ghana and the world over, to welcome the historic news of the nomination of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as a vice-presidential candidate for the major opposition political party – the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
POWA considers this decision as a tremendous personal achievement and milestone legacy of President John Mahama, as well as a quantum leap for women’s political participation within the NDC – and thus extends its respectful comradeship applause to him and his party.
POWA equally congratulates Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang on her attainment of the high leadership position of great significance and responsibility and wishes to assure of its unflinching support towards her mandate.
POWA unequivocally condemns the unfortunate ultra-reactionary narratives that followed the announcement of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang’s vice-presidential candidature and recognizes them as unjustifiably baseless and reflective of the backwardness associated with the remnants of the outdated views about women in Ghana.
Even more worrying are the attempts by some misguided so-called women’s rights activists to minimize this significant development of affirmative action which is a revolutionary process that can achieve equity and equality for all genders, classes and groups in society.
More so, the false rhetoric that Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang has not directly engaged in women’s rights activism, only signifies the lack of an objective understanding of the historical and material positions of women across cultures. Affirmative action is not the sole preserve of loud mouth gender activists, whose advocacy only reflects their parochial middle-class aspirations.
Through the delivery of her professional and public service duties, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang like many other ordinary Ghanaian women, has contributed significantly to the socioeconomic development of our country.
Whereas, POWA recognizes that the singular nomination of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang does not necessarily translate into the immediate and broader aims and interests of Ghanaian women; it nonetheless represents a new level of commitment from the male dominated political elite of the NDC to the cause of affirmative action.
This supports POWA’s position that women’s liberation struggles can only be achieved if its linked to broader questions of citizenship rights – because all forms of oppression are interconnected.
Beyond this representational support for women’s political development, POWA appeals to the Presidential Candidates of the two major political parties, to exercise their privileged historical positions of power – to ensure that women represent at least 30 per cent of their ministerial and other high-level decision structures when they win the 2020 general elections.
Although it has taken 63-years for the Ghanaian woman to earn her rightful place within the highest echelons of our political space, it is still worth celebrating – and President John Mahama has clearly and confidently demonstrated that strong political will is an effective way to empower women despite the complex social, cultural, economic and political dynamism of the gender power relations in our society.
Women’s Power is indeed People’s Power!
Victoria Lakshmi Hamah
Executive Director – POWA