WILDAF Wants Affirmative Action Bill Passed

The Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), an NGO, has appealed to the government to hasten the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill (AA Bill) into law to ensure effective gender equality in the country.

The NGO said the bill had taken too long and urged the government and the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection to redouble their efforts to ensure the bill is passed within a year.

Mr. Frank Bodza, Programme Manager in-charge of Governance at WiLDAF Ghana, who made the appeal said “government has no excuse not to pass this AA Bill within the next year”.

He was speaking in Accra on Monday, during a media interaction on the AA Bill as part of efforts to strengthen nationwide advocacy for the passage of the bill.

Mr. Bodza said the purpose of the AA Bill was to effectively identify and redress areas of social, economic and educational imbalance in the country as it relate to discrimination against women at the work place.

Additionally, the bill will promote the full and active participation of women in public and political life by providing for a more equitable system of representation in electoral politics and governance that is in accordance with Ghana and international obligations.

“There will be provision to encourage political parties to also ensure gender balance in their executive leaderships as well as measures to ensure that women are given the opportunities to contest parliamentary and presidential primaries,” he said.

Mr. Bodza said the bill when passed would also improve the welfare of persons with disability and also empower both the boy and girl child through planned and coordinated skills development and training programmes.

He said the bill would ensure balanced representation of both men and women on public boards, commissions and trusts.

Mr. Bodza described as erroneous assertions that the bill when passed would take positions from men and give them to women.

“It will not take positions from men and give them to women. It will not automatically increase the number of women immediately it is passed,” he explained.

He said the passage of the bill would rather ensure gradual incremental improvement of representation of women in decision making structures in the country and give equal opportunities to every citizen.

Mr Bodza mentioned that the AA bill is grounded firmly in the constitution, as Article 17 (4a) provides that “nothing in this article shall prevent parliament from enacting laws that are reasonably necessary to provide for the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at redressing social, economic or educational imbalance in the Ghanaian society”.

He, therefore, urged parliamentarians not to hesitate to pass the bill when it is presented to the house.

By Joseph Edu Archison

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