AA Bill To Redress Political Gender Imbalance
Ghana as a country has been urged to swiftly the Affirmative Action Bill(AA Bill) into law in order to ensure an increased women’s representation in governance.
Obviously, the country began its quest for an Affirmative Action Law as far back as 1998, where guidelines on the Law were passed by the Cabinet. However, as of now, the Bill has still not been passed.
This is due to the low commitment on the part of stakeholders towards pushing for the passage of the Bill into Law.
The Bill is fully passed into law it will effectively redress the social, cultural, economic, and political gender imbalance in the country.
It is crystal clear that the resulting unequal participation in both development process and outcomes reinforce the unequal status of men and women, and undermine the sustainable development of the country.
Over the years, the percent of women in Parliament has fluctuated greatly, falling from 18.2% in 1965 to 3.5% in 1979 and rising from 8% in 1992 to 10.9% in 2004 and 11.3% in 2012 to 12.7% in 2016.
And placed Ghana at the 139th position on the Inter-Parliamentary Union World Classification.
When women are inadequately represented in the decision-making process, it is very unlikely, that their needs and suggestions would be treated with a priority which inadvertently affects the economic development of the country.
In an interview with a Steering Committee Member of the AA Bill Coalition, Dr. Charity Binka, she underscored the urgent need for the passage of the Bill into law.
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Adding that, the Bill will provide an accountability framework for gender equality and empowerment of women aimed at providing both the executive and legislative yardstick the commitment and progress of the country towards achieving gender equality.
But in all, she pointed out that Journalists have the power to help push for the passage of the Bill into law.
This she said because the media do engage MPs, other policymakers, traditional rulers, opinion leaders, identifiable groups on the AA Bill.
This she said, collectively journalists have to intensify the ongoing advocacy towards the passage of the Bill into Law.
According to her, the media can promote the AA Bill through news coverage of the debate on the AA Bill and also by coming out with special documentaries on gender equality issues.
An Affirmative Action Law will also increase women’s interest in public and political office and would make a valuable contribution through their participation in decision making and will address socio-cultural prejudices against women.
More so, the Affirmative Action law in Ghana will promote equality in participation and representation in decision-making processes which will enable women to protect and promote their rights and the country as a whole.
The Convener of the AA Bill Coalition Madam Sheila Minkah-Premo, also expressed worried about the manner in which the country is far behind in achieving gender equality with regard to governance and leadership in other public and private spheres.
This she said, there was enough justification for Parliament to pass the Bill as recommended by the Constitution Review Commission in its White Paper and the number of commitments governments had made over the years in compliance with international obligations.
According to her, the low commitment has been realised because the purpose, relevance and benefits that we stand to gain as a country have not been clearly spelt out and disseminated to all citizens.
Explaining that, Affirmative Action is a temporary measure that is often instituted to redress the effects of past and current discrimination that is regarded as unfair and unjust. Hence there was the need to pass the Bill into law.
The Bill seeks to promote a progressive increase in active participation of women in public life from a minimum of 40% to parity of 50% by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mrs. Hamida Harrison, a Steering Committee Member of the AA Bill Coalition, said elections were not going to be the panacea for rectifying the low representation of women in the national development process.
According to her the outcome of Ghana’s 2020 elections showed that only 40 women managed to get into the 275-member Parliament, a situation that demonstrated the persistence of gender inequality in Ghana.
However, she pledged the Coalition’s support to journalists in their endeavour to advance the advocacy for the early passage of the AA Bill.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the AfCHuRSD, Madam Bernice Naah, stressed the need for an equal space to be created for all and sundry to enable them to take leadership positions to enable them to contribute meaningfully contribute effectively to the economic growth of the country.
Ghana’s Affirmative Action Bill when passed into law, will ensure that a critical number of women are in key positions in governance and public life and in decision-making spaces that will improve the lives of women generally and will also lead to consequential changes in existing laws and policies to improve the lives of women.
Through various efforts have been made in Ghana to balance political representation and participation between women and men, these efforts have not yielded desired results, mainly due to the low commitment and the political will to back such initiatives.
Madam Bernice Naah also entreated Journalists to double up effort towards the early passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law.
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