Intensify the fight for the Affirmative Action Bill – Coalition

Accra- The Affirmative Action Bill Coalition has called on all women’s rights and gender activists and all stakeholders to push for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law.

Mrs Sheila Minka-Premo, the Convener of the Coalition, who made the call, said women should fight and ensure that the Bill was passed into law before the elections to get more women into the decision-making process.

She said this during a press conference held in Accra on Monday by the Civil Society Organisation made up of LAWA, FIDA, Advocates for Gender Equity (AGE), ABANTU for Development, among others to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD), which fell on March 8.

The theme for this year’s celebration is: “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights” and in Ghana, the celebration focused on “Passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into Law; a critical step for gender equality for Quality Decision Making in Ghana”.

Mrs Minkah-Premo said it is time the Bill got passed during the term of the current parliament in line with government’s promise to get it passed.

She said when passed into law it would ensure that women who form the majority in Ghana are well represented in key decision making positions.

She said this year’s celebration seeks for gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth.

Mrs Minkah-Premo she said one of the spaces women face inequality in Ghana is in national decision making, stating that this is evident in the representation of women at various levels of women decision national leadership, including governance and political party leadership among others.

Women face difficulties in getting to significant leadership roles where decisions were made in the corporate world and currently, there are 37 women in Ghana’s 275 member parliament, representing 13.7 percent from both the majority and minority sides, a clear short of the 30 percent representation set by the inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), she said.

“The Affirmative Action Bill, which is yet to be laid before Parliament, sets to be a great opportunity to address this rather sorry situation of inequality in our national leadership and beyond.”

Mrs Minkah-Premo said the Bill if passed into law would go a long way to ensure the achievement of gender equality in political, social, economic and educational spheres in society. This bill has been sent to parliament once in an election year which was 2016.

She reiterated the importance of demanding for the passage by putting the Bill before Parliament through the Ministry for Gender Children and Social Protection before the end of this month, saying, once in Parliament, it should be expeditiously worked on.

“It is therefore significant that, for IWD the Affirmative Action Coalition would like to hold a series of activities to demand for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law as soon as possible,” she said.

The Convener said activities such as engaging duty bearers, key stakeholders, holding discussions and building a strong movement towards the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law would be observed especially during the month-long celebration as well as before the upcoming elections.

Mrs Elizabeth Q. Apkalu, Executive Director of AGE, appealed to the President, the AU champion on gender to “Walk his talk” and the Speaker of Parliament to help speed-up the process.

She urged activists to lobby people in high positions to fast-track the passage, adding that anyone who fought against their plight should not be voted for.

Mr Frank Wilson Bodza, Programme Manager for Governance at WLDAF, Ghana called on all political parties to help fulfill the passage of the Bill as they have promised Ghanaians in their manifestoes.

Madam Eunice Rachael Agbenyadzi, Gender Equality Social Inclusion, said they would reach the young through social media to confront barriers in realizing women’s rights.

Source: Ghana News Agency