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Stakeholders Discuss Inclusive Governance at West Africa Young Women in Politics Forum

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The West Africa Young Women in Politics (WAYWIP) forum brought together stakeholders from Liberia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Gambia, and Sierra Leone to deliberate on the need for a more inclusive, equitable, and democratic society in their respective countries.

The two-day event, themed “The Role of Women in Stemming the Tide of Democratic Backsliding in West Africa,” aimed to discuss the role women play in promoting and defending democracy to counteract the trend of democratic backsliding.

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The event, held in Accra and funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), provided a platform for politicians and social activists to discuss democracy in the sub-region and its effect on women. Speaking at the forum, the Executive Director of the Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), Esther Tawiah, commended Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone for their efforts in promoting inclusiveness in governance and policy formation.

She noted that Burkina Faso has progressive electoral laws and state funding that supports women’s candidature, while Sierra Leone recently passed the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act, which mandates political parties to ensure that women constitute 30% of their list.

Despite their crucial role, women still face barriers in their participation in politics and governance. Gender-based violence, discrimination, and patriarchal norms often prevent women from accessing leadership positions or playing an active role in decision-making processes.

The Director of the Department of Gender at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Faustina Acheampong, emphasized the importance of empowering women and creating an enabling environment to increase their participation in politics and governance.

The Acting Head of Democracy, Good Governance, and Human Rights at the ECOWAS Directorate of Political Affairs, Serigne Ka, expressed ECOWAS’s commitment to advancing inclusiveness in the sub-region.

He stressed that building inclusive societies requires the participation of all citizens, especially women, and called on stakeholders to work towards promoting gender equality in all aspects of governance.

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