Women’s rights advocacy organization, ABANTU for Development has called on the Parliament of Ghana to as a matter of urgency pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law before the upcoming 2023 District Assembly elections.
The call was made at a press conference in Accra organized by ABANTU for Development with support from African Women Development Fund (AWDF).
Held on the theme: “The Necessity of an Affirmative Action Law in Enhancing Women’s Participation in Elections 2023,” the Confab was meant to rally support for Women’s participation in the upcoming District Level elections and to intensify advocacy for the immediate passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.
An Affirmative Action Law presents itself as the guaranteed way to ensure women’s increased and effective representation at the national and local levels.
In a presentation on why Ghana needs an Affirmative Action Law before the District Level Election, Sheila Minka-Premo, Convener of the Affirmative Action Coalition emphasized the need for equitable representation of all genders in the government systems.
Madam Minka- Premo indicated that there are several policies at the local level which are supposed to ensure affirmative action. Still, those policies are not robust enough… adding, ”Ghana has several policies which are supposed to get us the Affirmative Action Law.”
She stated that Ghana is a signatory to various global conventions and Protocols that mandate it to ensure a minimum of 30 percent representation of Women in its decision-making spaces.
She noted that in spite of these global frameworks, women’s participation in the decision-making process remains below the 30 percent threshold since coming into force of the 1992 Constitution. Currently, she said, women’s representation in Ghana’s legislature stands at 14.5, while women’s representation in Local government stands at below five percent.
Over the years, elections have proven to be unable to ensure equality in the representation of women and men. It is therefore essential that other strategies are employed to ensure this gender balance and equal representation of women and men for effectiveness in democracy and sustainable development.
She called on Civil Society Organizations, the media, and Development partners to help push for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.
Sabia Kpekata, Principal Programme Officer, Department of Gender at the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection said her outfit took a major step by increasing the participation of Women in the drafting of the Affirmative Action Bill.
She said Affirmative action Law is the only way of attaining gender equality with respect to women’s participation in decision-making, “this is because it provides legally mandated systems, structure and policies to ensure women’s equal participation.”
She applauded ABANTU for Development for their continuous advocacy to get the Affirmative Action Law Passed into law.
On her part, Grace Ampomaa Afrifa, Senior Programme Officer stated that elections are a cornerstone for the consolidation of democracy and are supposed to be a primary tool to foster political openings, expand political participation and guarantee the realization of human rights, especially for the marginalized.
She called on all stakeholders to take all the necessary steps to ensure the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill prior to the 2023 District Level elections, or “else we stand the chance of marginalizing a core a core group of Ghana’s population in decision-making at the local level.”
By: Mohammed Suleman/Publicagendagh.com