Politics of Thursday, 19 September 2019
Mrs Joana Adzoa Opare, Former Chair, Affirmative Action Law, National Working Committee, has called on the government to fast track the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.
She said the Bill, when passed, would go a long way to ensure the achievement of gender equality in political, social, economic, and educational spheres in society.
Affirmative Action is a set of needed actions designed to correct history of systematic discrimination and exclusion of women in the decision-making process.
At a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, Mrs Opare said the Bill sought to promote a progressive increase in active participation of women in public life from a minimum of 30 per cent to a parity of 50 per cent by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
She called for legislation on Affirmation Action that spelt out gender issues, which governments would be held accountable for, if not implemented.
She said the Draft Bill (2018), yet to be submitted to Cabinet, had 36 clauses and six schedules to achieve targets, following evaluation, and had a memorandum which outlined in detail its purpose and design and provides detailed background and justification.
Women’s equal participation in decision making was not only a demand for simple justice or democracy, but also a necessary condition for their interest to be taken into account, she said.
“Without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women’s perspective at all levels of decision making, the goals of equality, development and peace, cannot be achieved, and development interventions and planning will not achieve sustainable results.”
Mrs Opare noted that socio-economic obstacles, women’s low position in public life, levels of education, income, and limited access to leadership roles were some of the barriers to women participation in decision making.
She said out of a Parliament of 275, only 38 are women, in a country where 51.2 per cent of the population are females, which needed to be improved.
The Bill, when passed, would promote democracy and good governance, equal participation, diversity in governance, alternative development paradigms, improved delivery of social services, and relationship between government and local communities, she said.
“Statistics show that at the local levels there were 5,681 men as against 413 women at the district assembly level, which is the basic level of governance in the country, while at the unit committee level there are 344 women as against 5,034 men…,” Mrs Opare said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed, would ensure political mobilisation, increased gender and sensitive practices, bring changes in people’s attitudes towards the environment, and deepen democracy and social transformation among other things.
Mrs Irene Aborchie-Nyame (Esq), Executive Member, FIDA, Ghana, said
women for so long had been discriminated against, which was a violation of the Constitution, adding that the Bill would benefit the country generally and not women alone.
“Discrimination, especially historic discrimination, cannot correct itself. It will take pragmatic efforts on the side of the state to bring about change. The state needs to pass the Bill to eliminate, to some extent, institutional discrimination.”
Mr Manasseh Azure Awuni, a Journalist, urged the media to help promote the passage of the Bill by believing in it.
He urged them to be conscious in their programming, be culturally sensitive, avoid extreme advocacy, know how to target the right people at every stage of the Bill, and be conversant with its content.
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