Journalists discuss Affirmative Action Bill

BY: Caroline Boateng
 Mrs Joana Opare­
Mrs Joana Opare­

The Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ghana, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung/Foundation (FES) have organised a media engagement on the Affirmative Action Bill (AAB) in Accra.


 The media engagement brought together selected journalists from both the public and private media to discuss the current status of the AAB and the strategies needed to get it passed into law.

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Ghana far behind

In her welcome statements, the Acting Executive Director of FIDA Ghana, Mrs Susan Aryeetey, said the AAB was about the rights of all and the recognition of the contribution of both men and women to development.


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Quoting the Global Competitiveness Report of 2017/2018, she said Rwanda currently had 68 per cent of its women in Parliament.

She said that contrasted to Ghana, which had just 13. 8 per cent women in Parliament.

The Global Competitiveness Report which measures factors that drive long-term growth and prosperity for over four decades is compiled by the World Economic forum.

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“Similarly, Ethiopia’s Prime minister has appointed a Cabinet marked by gender parity, with 10 women and 10 men. The country has gone further to appoint a female as President of that country.

While these two countries have set major milestone in efforts to place more women in high level positions of influence, Ghana is trailing behind at least 12 African countries,” she said.

“Indeed we are so far behind the rankings for women in national parliaments as of October 1, 2018 on the inter-parliamentary union website, which ranks Ghana 143 out of 193 countries.

In 2016, Ghana was ranked 149 and this demonstrates the slow progress that Ghana has achieved,” she added.

Status

A Consultant of the AAB, Mrs Joana Opare, in her presentation on the status of the bill, said the law was necessary in the country because of the low numbers of women in decision-making and the difficult attempts in addressing this without a consideration of the socio-cultural and influences surrounding the issue.

She said since attempts by President Dr Kwame Nkrumah to ensure the representation of women in Parliament through the Convention Peoples Party’s (CPP) Women in Parliament Initiative in 1960, the country had woefully failed to date in reaching the goal.

Currently, she said, the bill had to be approved by the current Cabinet for it to be passed on to Parliament.

Mrs Opare said that was because its submission in Parliament in the last quarter of 2016 did not get the needed attention.

Time had, therefore, elapsed so the bill had to be represented afresh to the current Parliament, she said.

Background

The processes for an Affirmative Action Law in the country started way back in 1998 in line with efforts and ratifications of international protocols for gender equality.

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