ABANTU for Development and its partners have re-echoed the need for government to swiftly pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law before the upcoming 2023 District Assembly elections.
According to them, the Affirmative Action Law presents itself as the guaranteed way to ensure women’s increased and effective representation at the national and local levels.
The call was made at a press conference in Accra organized by ABANTU for Development with support from African Women Development Fund (AWDF) under the theme: “The Necessity of an Affirmative Action Law in Enhancing Women’s Participation in Elections 2023,”
The aim of the project is to increase the advocacy towards the immediate passage of Ghana’s Affirmative Action Bill into Law, mobilise and develop capacities of prospective women candidates to strengthen their civic engagement and voice in Ghana’s District Assembly Elections 2023.
The Convener of the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition, Sheila Minka-Premo, Esq, delivering a presentation on why Ghana needs an Affirmative Action Law before the District Level Election, explained 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.
Despite these global frameworks, she claims that women’s participation in decision-making has remained below the 30% mark since the 1992 Constitution came into force into effect.
She asserted that while there are currently 14.5% of women in Ghana’s legislature, there are only 5% of women in local government. Ghana’s Affirmative Action Bill has still not been passed since the process of drafting began in 2011.
Elections have repeatedly demonstrated their inability to ensure equality in the representation of men and women.
Other strategies must be implemented to ensure gender balance and equal representation of men and women for democracy and sustainable development to be effective.
The Principal Programme Officer, Department of Gender at the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection Sabia Kpekata, said a major step taken by the Ministry to increase the participation of women in Ghana is drafting the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill.
Stressing that, the Affirmative action Law is the only way of attaining gender equality with respect to women’s participation in decision-making since it provides legally mandated systems, structure, and policies to ensure women’s equal participation.
Adding that, the Ministry will continue to implement activities to strengthen its advocacy on women in leadership and decision-making at the local level.
The Senior Programme Officer for ABANTU for Development Grace Ampomaa Afrifa, also underscored the need 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.
Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, under the Directive Principles of State Policy, in Articles 35(5) and 35 (6) enjoins the State to actively promote the integration of all citizens and prohibit any form of discrimination on the basis of gender in order to achieve a gender balance.