AWIM wants Eighth Parliament to speedily pass Affirmative Action Bill

Accra The Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM) has expressed optimism that the Eight Parliament of the Fourth Republic will speedily pass the Affirmative Action Bill to address the concerns of women and balance the gender inequality scale.

Mrs Mavis Kitcher, the President of ASWIM, said the Association believed the Affirmative Action Law would leapfrog the balancing of the gender inequality scale, which had tilted power in favour of men as a result of centuries of discrimination and deep-rooted patriarchy.

She made the remarks when the Association joined the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day on the global theme: “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.”

ASWIM, she said, recommended that more investments should be made in female education, especially to encourage and motivate girls to pursue careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Mrs Kitcher urged the Government to strengthen its gender responsive budgeting in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

“There must also be increased investments in the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programmes, while women in the informal sector of the economy, who have lost their livelihoods in the pandemic, must be supported to revive them,” she said.

ASWIM noted with pride the outstanding roles women were playing to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, which had taken more than 2.5 million lives worldwide and continued to disrupt socio-economic activities and devastate national economies, she said.

“ASWIM salutes women, who are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, as front-line and health sector workers, scientists, researchers, doctors, community organisers, journalists, caregivers, and sanitary workers, among others,” she said.

Mrs Kitcher said there was no doubt that the challenges brought about by the pandemic required very exceptional leadership skills, dedication, innovation, resilience, courage and sacrifices for women in leadership roles to accomplish their tasks.

“ASWIM, therefore, celebrates the leaders of Germany, Ethiopia, Denmark, Slovakia, Finland and New Zealand for their outstanding management of the Covid-19 crisis in their countries,” she said.

Mrs Kitcher acknowledged sheroes such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has become the first woman and African to lead the World Trade Organisation, the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the COVID-19 National Trust Fund, former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, and Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Small Scale Industries, Mrs Kosi Yankey Ayeh, for her stewardship of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme.

“Also shining in this pandemic era to inspire other women are the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority, Mrs Delese A.A. Darko, CEO of Vodafone Ghana, Mrs Patricia Obo-Nai, Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana, Abena Osei-Poku, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Mansa Nettey, and the Reverend Mrs Gifty Lamptey, Chairperson of the Sidalco Group of Companies,” Mrs Kitcher said.

While applauding the strides made over the years towards gender parity, Mrs Kicther said, nonetheless, a lot more needed to be done as the pandemic threatened to erode the gains made.

The UN Women notes that though women’s full and effective participation and leadership in all areas of life drives progress for everyone, women were still under-represented in public life and decision-making, she said.

“It is also worth mentioning the UN Secretary-General’s recent report, which reveals that women are Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and only 24.9 per cent of national parliamentarians are women”.

The report, therefore, called for an improvement in the rate of progress, as at the current pace, gender equality among heads of government would take another 130 years.

She bemoaned how the world body’s analysis of COVID-19 task teams, from 87 countries, found only 3.5 per cent of them having gender parity.

“In observance of the International Women’s Day, the UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, in a piece titled: ‘A Crisis with a Woman’s Face’, rightly emphasises the need for a new push to advance women’s leadership and equal participation. He, consequently, recommends six steps in support of ensuring women’s equal representation,” she said.

These include investing in the care economy and social protection, and enacting emergency response plans to address violence against women and girls.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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