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 ‘Expedite action on passage of Affirmative Action Bill’

ABANTU for Development has reiterated calls on government to expedite action on the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law to increase the participation of women in governance and decision making.

They said if the bill  was  passed, it  would ensure that a greater number of women would  play an effective role in national discourse as well as address the problem of exclusion of the marginalised, especially women.

They made this call at a sensitisation forum on the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill in Accra on Wednesday.

The Forum also formed part of efforts by the women’s advocacy group to implement a project dubbed “Strengthening Advocacy for the Passage of an Affirmative Action Law in Ghana.”

The Chairperson of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Madam Hilary Gbedemah said although women constituted 51 per cent of the country’s population, only 13 per cent was represented in parliament, stressing that “it is not a proper democratic reflection”.

According to her, there was the need for women to talk about their own issues especially on issues of health and sanitation to enable them to articulate what they want well through advocacy.

Madam Gbedemah stated that a lot of women were prepared for various leadership roles but could do so due to barriers that hindered them from achieving that.

She mentioned some of these barriers as patriarchy, historical and cultural adding, “We are socialised in our communities to believe that women are not cut out for leadership.”

The CEDAW Chairperson observed that women’s low position in the public sphere was as a result of the inequalities they faced from sexual division of labour and their lack of control over economic resources.

Madam Gbedemah underscored the challenges of the political system, failure of public policy, ideological and psychological hindrances as obstacles to women’s participation in public life.

Mrs Hamida Harrison, the Convenor of the Women’s Manifesto Coalition (WMC) said women in the society had been subjected to promises, pronouncement and political declaration elections after elections yet; little action had been taken to involve them in decision making.

She stated that women in the country had waited with anticipation for the fulfilment of promises of the 30 to 40 per cent women representation in politics made in political party’s manifestos but, nothing had been done about that.

Mrs Harrison said that the country’s development on a democratic political system must be based on the principles of gender equality and increased representation of women in politics and national discourse through policy initiatives.

BY ABEDUWAA LUCY APPIAH

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