W/shop on Affirmative Action Bill held for journalists

Mrs Opare (right) stressing a point at the workshop

Mrs Opare (right) stressing a point at the workshop

A FORMER Chairperson of the Affirmation Action Bill Drafting Committee, Mrs Joana A. Opare, has dismissed the old saying that, “women are their own enemies.”

 

The decades old adage suggests that women do not support themselves and are envious of their own who tries to make progress in life.

 

But addressing the parliamentary press corps at a capacity building workshop on the Affirmative Action Bill in Accra on Monday, Mrs Opare said that view could not be true.

 

She said: “Women are not their own enemies. That assertion is wrong and must be discarded. Men fight, they beat themselves, do horrible things to each other, but we don’t say they are enemies.

 

“However, when it comes to women over a disagreement or because one woman decides not to vote for a colleague woman, they are their own enemies. I think it is high time we started correcting that assertion.”

 

The workshop was to sensitise the journalists on the state of the Affirmation Action Draft Bill which seeks to ensure the achievement of gender equality in political, social, economic, educational and cultural spheres in society.

 

The passage of the bill, envisaged in 1998, would be in conformity with clause 4(a) of Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution which gives Parliament the power to enact laws to address social, economic or educational imbalances in the Ghanaian society.

 

It would also ensure “reasonable regional and gender balance in the recruitment and appointment to public offices” as stated in Article 35 of the Constitution.

 

Birthed as the Gender Policy, the draft bill finally made it to Parliament in 2016 but could not be passed by the House.

 

In a postmortem of why the draft bill, which is currently at the Attorney General’s Department waiting to be taken to Cabinet before laid in Parliament for consideration, is delaying, Mrs Opare said work on the bill had delayed because there was fear among members to pass the law.

 

These fears which cut across both male and female lawmakers, Mrs Opare said was because of the lack of understanding of the need for Ghana to have an affirmative action law.

 

She called on the Attorney General to speed up work on the bill before the campaign season approached; a reason why the outgone Parliament could not finish work on the bill.

 

Ms Ernestina Quaye, a representative from the Friederich Ebert Foundation, a German political foundation on her part described the bill as a social engineering document which would ensure parity in the Socio-political system in Ghana.

 

She said everybody’s voice was needed for the development of the country and that there would be no balance if one side of the population was relegated to the background.

 

The Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps, Nana Kwasi Agyemang Birinkorang on his part said the corps was ready to create the awareness on the bill and push for its passage like it was doing with the Right to Information Bill.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

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