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An Open letter to the 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon. Alban Bagbin

Dear Honorable Alban Bagbin, RE: EC Chair job "too rough" for women This morning media houses broadcasted/published views that you shared in an interview on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class 91.3FM on Thursday, 26th July, 2018 on the position of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and your belief that the job was in your words “too rough for women”. After a week in which the issue of violence against women and the abuse of authority – reference the Midland Savings and Loans Limited incident - has been highlighted, we receive your words with utmost shock!! While these are two very different instances, the fact is, that even as the Affirmative Action Bill and the Land Bill, 2018 (with specific gender provisions) are coming before Parliament seeking to ensure that women’s rights are protected socially, economically and politically, it is disturbing to hear from a member of the leadership of Parliament that some occupations are considered beyond the remit of women. Dear 2nd Deputy Speaker – Hon. Bagbin, the Women’s Movement of Ghana would like to know why you could conveniently say the job of EC Chair is too “rough” for a woman. What genetically makes heading the EC a task that women cannot handle? The Women’s Movement has been challenging the paternalistic subjugation of women; especially in the governance and decision making spaces for years and to hear a high level political figure in Ghana’s Parliament say “…I don’t think we should be risking them that much”; we would be glad if you can expatiate on the spaces and positions you think women should aspire to be safe from risk? Ghanaian women have excelled in many fields and decision making spaces and it is appalling and unacceptable that as a leader and legislator, rather than encouraging women to build on these successes, you rather seek to limit the heights that women can go and the offices that we can occupy because of the ‘stress’ the spaces/position may have on women. Your utterances seek to promote the negative societal perceptions of women being subordinates of men in all spheres of life. The Women’s Movement in Ghana is extremely disappointed at your utterances and thus demands an immediate withdrawal of your statement and an apology to Ghanaian women as well as share with us steps you intend to take to ensure the effect of your utterance on women occupying certain positions is eventually and effectively dispelled. We look forward to you showing us the leadership we expect from our political leaders. Thank you. Yours sincerely, On behalf of Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) Signed Pauline Vande-Pallen Convenor


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