The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Cluster on Decentralisation and Citizens Participation has urged the Executive to lay the Affirmative Action Bill in Parliament for it to be passed into law to enhance women empowerment.
Speaking at the launch of a campaign for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill in Accra, the co-convener of the coalition, Ms Efua Edith Chidi, said successive governments had failed to push for the passage of the bill which had been kept in the cooler for 13 years.
Therefore, she said, it was about time the bill was passed into law to empower women and increase their representation in Parliament, the Executive and other key decision-making positions.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into Law, would require government to ensure equitable gender representation at all levels of governance and decision-making in the country.
It also seeks to address other social and economic imbalances.
Women’s representation in the public service, ministerial positions, independent constitutional bodies, boards of state institutions and political parties are expected to be improved with the passage of the law.
Ms Chidi said there was low representation of women in Parliament, district assemblies and the Executive and that denied women the opportunity to highlight the concerns of the marginalised in the society.
She said despite the constitutional provision on the protection of the rights of women and the ratification of treaties on women empowerment, women were still denied their rights in the society.
Ms Chidi said African countries, such as Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi and Guinea, which started the process of passing an Affirmative Action Bill years after Ghana had started the process, had passed the bill into law and had started implementing it.
Therefore, she said, it was quite disappointing that the bill had not been passed into law in Ghana and attributed the situation to lack of political commitment.
“After a decade of action, it is quite disappointing that the bill has not be laid in Parliament. We have the resources but no political commitment”, she said.
Ms Chidi said members of the coalition would be embarking upon peace walks to impress upon the government to facilitate the processes for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law.
The Accra peace walk is scheduled for August 30, 2019, while the Tamale walk is slated for September 7, 2019.
Ms Chidi said once President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was the African gender champion and Co Chairman of the Sustainable Development Goals, it was important for him to push for the passage of the bill into law as he had promised.
For her part, the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Manager of Star Ghana Foundation, Gender Officer, Ms Eunice Agbenyadzi, said there were many hindrances affecting the development of women in the country.
She said the campaign was, therefore, aimed at getting the bill laid in Parliament and subsequently passed into law for the necessary actions to be taken to safeguard the interests of women,
Ms Agbenyadzi said women constituted a great percentage of the population in the country and, therefore, needed to be given adequate representation in the local and central government systems in the country.
She said the Affirmative Action Bill was not meant to benefit only women but it was good for the whole society.