Fast track passage of Affirmative Action Bill – TUC urges govt
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has expressed concern that 13 years after the Affirmative Action Bill was proposed, it was yet to see the light of day as the passage into law has dragged.
The TUC has therefore called on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to as a matter of urgency and priority, speed up the processes to lay the Bill before Parliament for its consideration and eventual passage.
The TUC made the call in a message to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).
Why Affirmative Action?
The TUC said the Affirmative Action Bill was among other things, intended to provide some equity as it seeks to promote women's representation to a minimum of 40 per cent in all policy making spaces and there was no better time to speed up the process than celebrating this year’s IWD which also had a campaign theme: “Embrace Equity.”
“Ghana's Affirmative Action Law seeks to remove the historical low representation of women in all decision-making spaces, while promoting democracy and development through effective participation of all citizens.
“Though several promises have been made to get the Bill passed in 2017 and in 2020, none of these promises have materialised, and on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, we remind government, through the sector ministry, on the need to expedite the processes to get the Bill to Parliament for consideration and passage,” the message said.
Additionally, the TUC also called on government to accelerate the process towards the ratification of ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the world of work.
ILO Convention 183
The TUC further called on government to fast-track the ratification of the ILO Convention adopted to further protect and motivate women at work places.
It said the ratification of the convention passed in 2000, is long overdue and it was time for Ghana to ratify it to better protect working mothers and their babies.
Also, it encouraged organisations to provide facilities and make it convenient and encourage the breastfeeding of babies as also contained in the convention.
It said pregnancy and maternity were potentially vulnerable time for working women and their families and with the ILO having assessed the need to extend the maternity leave, there was the need to sign up to that.
The message said, expectant and nursing mothers required special protection to prevent any potential adverse effects for them and their infants and thus needed adequate time to give birth, recover from delivery process, and to nurse their children before returning to work to work efficiently and with the peace of mind.
“As the ILO has said in support of the Convention, the mother's right to a period of rest in relation to childbirth is a crucial means of safeguarding the health and nutrition of the mother and her child.
“Convention No. 183 states that maternity leave should not be less than 14 weeks, while Recommendation No. 191 suggests that maternity leave be at least 18 weeks.
“Given the vulnerability of women and babies during these times, we call on government to as a matter of concern for the welfare of women, to ratify Convention 183,” the message emphasised.
Ayekoo to all women
In calling on government to show commitment to the welfare of women in general and at workplaces, it also congratulated all women in Ghana and across the world, for their immense contributions towards building a more equitable and just society.
“On this special day, the TUC wishes to reaffirm its commitment to advancing the cause of women. We will continue to promote women’s rights and gender empowerment in and out of the workplace and across the country,” the message concluded.