Affirmative Action bill in the offing

IMG_2306Gender and Social Protection Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, says Ghana is on the verge of “making history” in the push for affirmative action, which will see women get reserved jobs.

The Affirmative Action bill, she says, is in the final stages and would head to Cabinet before the end of the year.

Her comments come as Ghana joined the world to mark International Women’s Day yesterday. The theme for this year’s celebration is, ‘Empowering Women-Empowering Humanity.’

Contained in the Affirmative Action bill is a plan to see more women in ‘strategic’ decision making positions. The bill when passed, will require all sectors to reserve a percentage of their employment for women.

Perhaps, one of the greatest improvements that can result from the bill is a plan to get more women into parliament, Nana Oye Lithur said.

Feminism campaign has made important progress since 1992 where in the 1st Parliament of the 4th Republic, female representation to their male counterparts was in the ratio of 16:184.

The Government of Ghana in 2002, came out with an affirmative action policy that 30% of government appointees should be women.

But this policy though embraced by the major political parties in Ghana, has seen whimsical implementation.

Ghana’s legislature has averagely less than 20% female representation, and this is expected to change once the bill becomes law.

“We believe that this bill will be a major boost for political empowerment of women. …in strategic decision making roles” the minister told Joynews on Sunday

The minister was proud of the progress being made saying the Affirmative Action bill will be a significant a turning point as the Interstate Succession Law was in 1985.

That law grants a surviving spouse a right to the inheritance of a deceased partner. It came at a time when the extended family wielded remarkable control over property of a deceased breadwinner.

This left widows often victimised, thrown out of a deceased husband’s home, and reduced to penury.

The Gender Minister considers disproportionate employment opportunities for women as the new empowerment barrier, and reiterated her commitment in crossing this hurdle.

The new Affirmative Action bill will be one such tool to achieve this, she explained.

“Here again in 2015, we are on the threshold of making history”, the minister concluded.

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