Parliament pressurised to pass Affirmative Action Bill

Gender activists have began mounting pressure on Parliament to pass the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill before its tenure ends on January 6 next year.

They urged the law makers to devote their attention to passing the bill when it is introduced at the next meeting of Parliament later this year.

Members of Parliament would be confronted with other key bills such as the Right to Information (RTI) bill when the House returns from recess for its final meeting later this year.

The Minister of Gender and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, said she was confident that the Affirmative Action  Bill could be passed by the current Parliament if it is given the necessary attention.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the Affirmative Action Bill in Accra yesterday, the minister said the bill would not be introduced under a Certificate of Urgency, but could be passed if the law makers remained committed to doing so.

The Affirmative Action bill seeks to promote the full and active participation of women in public life, by providing a more equitable system of representation in electoral politics and governance.

The bill proposes for the establishment of a gender equality committee, which will have the discretion to use any dispute resolution mechanism to address non-compliance with the law.

The minister said the bill, when passed, would provide the space for women in governance and other professionals and would bring women in equal representation in the various professions.

She said the bill would address the socio-economic and educational imbalances and urged the various stakeholders to add their voices to the call on Parliament to approve it.

A former director of the National Council for Women and Development (NCWD), Mrs. Elizabeth Akpalu, urged Parliament to treat the bill with urgency and leave a legacy for the country.

A member of the Affirmative Action Law Working Committee, Ms Hilary Gbedemah, said it was regrettable that women represented 10 per cent of the total members in Parliament, although they constituted 51 per cent of the country’s population.

Ms. Joana Opare, also member of the Working Committee, appealed to Parliament to pass the bill before it dissolves.

By Yaw Kyei                                                                                     


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