Mrs Sheila Minka-Premo, Convener of the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition (AABill Coalition), has appealed for the appointment of a Substantive Minister to help speed up the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law.
Making the appeal at a roundtable discussion on the Bill in Accra, she explained that the Bill had unduly delayed and was drafted every year since 2016 without receiving significant attention of the Cabinet.
The Minister would, therefore, push for the approval of the Bill which is before Cabinet to be sent to Parliament for assessment and passage.
The Affirmative Action Bill seeks equalising the tracks and removing the unjust barriers that obstruct the pathways to progression. The policy is designed to equalise the conditions of an otherwise unfair race and give everyone a fair chance to compete.
The roundtable discussion, organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the AABill Coalition was participated by the Abantu for Development, Institute for Democratic Governance, and the media was on the topic: “Averting the Excessive Delays in Passing the Affirmative Action Bill – The Role of Stakeholders”.
Mrs Minka-Premo said women constituted more than 50 per cent of the population but were minimal at the corporate, public and private sector.
At parliament, women constituted only 14.5 per cent, she said, attributing that partly to the burdensome duties they had at work and home and the overall discrimination against women in decision making processes.
“So naturally those usually available to attend all decision-making functions are the men,” she said.
The Convener bemoaned the ineffectiveness in implementing policies like the National Gender Policy and International Treaties like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).
Ms Emefa Apawu, a Broadcast Journalist, urged the public to demand passage of the Bill in exchange for their votes in general elections.
“Its time citizens make passage of the Affirmative Action Bill an election language for politicians because that’s the only language they understand better,” she said.
She admonished the media to not only report facts but speak up for the passage of the Bill just as they led conversations on drug abuse, ‘galamsey’, COVID-19, teenage pregnancy, and E-Levy.
“I believe the media has power to avert the excessive delays of the passage of the Bill,” she said and encouraged them to decentralise sensitization on the Bill to the districts and local assemblies to be appreciated by the ordinary Ghanaian.
Dr Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, CDD-Ghana, said advocating the passage of the Bill was a mere human right and gender equality issue that was clearly spelt out in the Constitution.
“Over the years, we have tended to be inhuman, and not seen the need to treat other humans equally, that is why its been complicated for us to push for gender equality.
“We are all citizens and according to the Constitution, we are supposed to be treated the same, even though some people in a way look like they are more citizens than others,” he said.
“So, if there is a statistic like out of 6000 assembly members, just 460 are women that make contribute to making decisions for societies, and women outnumber the men in the country, then the 460 doesn’t make sense,” Dr Asante said.
He explained that a democracy should be participatory as societies were better when provided space for inclusion and equal opportunities for all.