The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition (AA Bill Coalition) have said the delay in passing the Affirmative Action Bill since 2011 is a dent on the country’s democratic credentials and calls for "an action now."
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has been supported to draft various versions of the bill, but to date, none of the drafts has been tabled before parliament for consideration and passage into law, the two civil society groups said.
CDD and the coalition said the delay in the passage of the bill was an affront to the 1992 Constitution which called for an all-inclusive society and, therefore, the exclusion of marginalised groups, such as women, needed to be addressed with dispatch.
At a roundtable discussion in Kumasi yesterday, a member of the coalition, Dr Charity Binka, said the slow pace with which the government was addressing the issue would make it difficult to achieve the United Nations' threshold of 30 per cent of women occupying key positions in government.
"The 40 women in Parliament out of 275 is woefully inadequate. I wonder whether we can achieve the 40 per cent in all government institutions," Dr Binka said.
She stated that since independence, women had contributed immensely to the development of the country.
The group said notwithstanding the many progressive policies, international treaties, charters, and legal instruments put in place by the UN, the African Union (AU), ECOWAS, and other regional bodies that the country had signed on and rectified, women continued to be marginalised in political processes.
Since 2011, efforts have been made for the country to enact an Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Law in line with the 1992 Constitution.
In 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his maiden State of the Nation Address, promised to ensure the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law, but unfortunately, that has not happened.
A legal practitioner and advocate of the bill, Sheila Minkah-Premo, questioned the excessive delay in ensuring that Ghanaians benefited from an Affirmative Action law.
“What is holding back the Akufo-Addo administration from ensuring the bill's passage? How do we help to avert this undue delay?” she asked.
The coalition members said just as it was being done in Rwanda, where a percentage of seats were reserved for women, the same could be replicated to encourage women participation in Ghana.
"In our case, all we want is that competent and qualified women should be given the opportunity to serve and not subdued," she said.