Pass Affirmative Action Bill into law —Abantu

Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh (middle) in a chat with Mrs Rose Kutin (right) other dignitaries after the launch.

Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh (middle) in a chat with Mrs Rose Kutin (right) other dignitaries after the launch.

The government should expedite action on the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law to address gender inequality in the country, Professor Takyiwaa Manuh, Professor Emeritus of the University of Ghana, has stated.

She explained that research had shown low representation of women at all levels and said that was a violation of their rights and hampers growth of the country.

Prof. Manuh made the call at the launch of a project dubbed: ‘Strengthening Advocacy for the Passage of an Affirmative Action Law in Ghana” in Accra last week.

The programme organised by Abantu for Development (AFD) in collaboration with the African Women’s Development Fund was aimed at developing a campaign strategy to strengthen advocacy on national commitments towards the passage of affirmative action law in the country.

It brought together women group organisations, women political groups and civil society organisations.

Prof. Manuh observed that the nation was the first African country to initiate Affirmative Action 58 years ago, but still had low representation of women in key areas in governance.

“Women have over the years contributed to the socio- economic development, challenges affecting women included stereotyping, negative cultural practices and violence against women.

“We need to collaborate to ensure the passage of the Affirmative Action law to promote the rights of women,” Prof. Manuh noted.

Dr Hamida Harrison, a representative of AFD, said Ghana’s 275 member parliament, had only 37 women representation which translates into 13 per cent and falling short of the minimium United Nations recommendation threshold of 30 per cent.

She said when the bill was passed into law women in key positions at all national sectors would promote socio-economic development and stressed on the need for protection of women’s rights, gender justice and social inclusion.

Dr Comfort Asare, the Director of the Department of Gender of the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, in her remarks, said Ghana had made some achievements in gender parity but the gap between men and women was still low.

“Currently there are only 20 women holding the office of heads of states or government, which represent only 6.3 per cent of total number of international leaders. I commend Abantu for the initiative to support to eliminate gender inequalities,” Dr Asare said.

The Programme Manager of Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana, Ms Patricia Blankson Akakpo, noted that it was worrying that the first draft of the bill was in 2013 but was still struggling for passage and appealed to the government to pass the bill into law to fulfil its promise on the Affirmative Action Agenda.

By Anita Nyarko Yirenkyi

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