Women Caucus in Parliament mark International Women’s Day

Adwoa SafoThe Women Caucus in Parliament has entreated the government to bring the “much delayed” Affirmative Action Bill, the Spousal Right Bill and the Intestate Succession Bill to the House for passage.

In a statement in Parliament yesterday to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), the female lawmakers said the passage of these bills into laws will “address gender inequality and empower women at all levels of society.”

 

Marked on the theme “Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives,”  the IWD was set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the contribution of women in global development.

 

The chairperson of the caucus and Deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adwoa Safo, presenting the statement on behalf of the group said women are the fulcrum of society and must be given their due.

 

“Mr. Speaker, throughout history, women have played and continue to play significant roles in the development of many nations, yet, women’s progress continue to be undermined by inequalities that exist in our homes, workplaces and places of worship, among others,” she noted.

 

She said though Ghana’s democracy has come of age, the voices of women still remain faint or virtually missing in national discourse despite constituting about 51 per cent of the population.

 

Decrying the low representation of women in Parliament, she said hard work was needed to improve upon the numbers in the next Parliament.

 

“The current 37 women out of the 275 Members of Parliament, representing 13 per cent of the total membership, is woefully inadequate and far below the internationally agreed target of at least 30 per cent,” she said.

 

Appealing to the Local Government Ministry to collaborate with the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry to revitalise and expand the scope of the Women in Local Government Fund, Adwoa  Safo, MP, Dome-Kwabenya, said the impending District Assemblies’ elections presents an opportunity for more women to be elected and to prepare them for other national leadership positions.

 

Condemning what she said was the recent sexual violence against women and the continuous abduction of girls in Nigeria by militant group, Boko Haram, Ms. Safo said “we cannot wait any longer while the perpetrators continue to have their field day.”

 

In the view of the Deputy Majority Leader, economic empowerment of women remains one of the surest ways of addressing gender disparity and called on women across the country to take advantage of the GHC10 million fund meant for women entrepreneurs.

 

Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, in a separate statement said her outfit is “pushing strongly” for the afore mentioned bills by the Women Caucus to be passed.

 

She said her ministry will lay the Affirmative Action Bill before the House this year and that “Parliament’s demonstration of its commitment to the promotion of women’s rights will be the speedy passage of the bill.”

 

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, in a remark, debunked what he termed public perception that the House was reluctant to take action on the Affirmative Action Bill.

 

“Many of our country men and women think for example that there is an affirmative action bill before this honourable House, this is not correct as at today” he stated.

 

Speaker Oquaye accordingly directed the Women Caucus, the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection and Committee of Gender issues to follow up and collaborate in ensuring that the proposed bill was brought before the House for consideration within the “shortest possible time.”

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

 

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