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Affirmative Action Bill: Stakeholders call for urgent steps towards passage into law

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 By Yussif Ibrahim/Florence Afriyie Mensah, GNA

www.ghanareaders.com

 Kumasi, Aug. 20, GNA – In line with global efforts to address gender disparities and exclusion of marginalised groups in society, advocates for the passage into law of the Affirmative Action Bill have called for urgent steps to accelerate the process.

At a roundtable in Kumasi, they underlined the need to intensify advocacy to hasten the process.

The participants, drawn from Civil Society Organisations, the Department of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the media, demanded swift action to lay the bill before Parliament by the end of the year.

The event, put together by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), in collaboration with the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition, was on the theme: “Averting the Excessive Delays in Passing the Affirmative Action Bill – the Role of Stakeholders.”

Madam Regina Amanfo-Tetteh, the Senior Programmes Officer, CDD-Ghana, said her outfit was committed to the introduction and passage of the Bill because it aligned with the mission and vision of the Centre.

      “We aim to promote democracy, good governance, inclusive development and this mission cannot be achieved without the majority of the population who are women, participating effectively,” she said.

     Madam Amanfo-Tetteh said women’s political representation in Ghana had been abysmal with only 40 out of the 275 Members of Parliament (MPs), representing14.5 per cent, being women.

      The percentage, she noted, was far below the African average of 24 per cent, and that between 2016 and 2021, there had only been an increase of 1.5 per cent of women in Parliament.

     “The situation is even worse at the local government level where the barriers to participation is supposed to be lower. Out of about 6,000 assembly members, only 216 are women,” she said.

    Madam Amanfo-Tetteh said an increase of women in both government and politics would bring about more differing views, opinions and perspectives which would prove beneficial to the country’s development.

  She was emphatic that Ghana could not be a true democracy without equal representation of all groups, especially women and other marginalised groups.

   The passage of the Bill into law would be in the right direction to address the historical, social, cultural, economic and political gender imbalance in the country and serve as a tool for justice for women, she added.

   Mrs Sheila Minkah-Premo, Convener of the Affirmative Action Bill, appealed to President Akufo-Addo to, as a matter of urgency, give Cabinet approval to pave way for the passage of the Bill into law.

      “Currently, one of the international instruments Ghana is looking at is the Sustainable Development Goals, which stipulates that by the year 2030, there should be parity when it comes to representation of women in leadership,” she stated.

      Any further delay in the passage of the Bill would decrease the chances of achieving that target in the next eight years, Mrs Minka-Premo said, and urged the Executive to prioritise its passage as well as well-meaning Ghanaians to join the advocacy.

GNA

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