ABANTU, AWDF partner media to step up advocacy on Affirmative Action Bill

ABANTU for Development and the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) yesterday launched a two-year project to actively engage the media in pushing advocacy on the Affirmative Action Bill.

It is expected to secure a legal mechanism for gender equality in the country while ensuring that women gained same access to political participation in sustaining the country’s democracy.

At a media engagement yesterday on the theme; “Strengthening Advocacy for The Passage of an Affirmative Action Law in Ghana”, Convener of the Women’s Manifesto Coalition, Mrs Hamida Harrison, noted the need to change entrenched attitudes among the citizenry on the bill to realise its passage into law.

“The media’s role has been identified as critical in social improvement. People need to understand that any policy decisions especially decisions on gender equality within governance have profound consequences for our lives and that of future generations.

The mass media, therefore, plays a pivotal role in educating and shaping public opinion as well as influencing government’s policy decisions,” she said.

Recognising how Ghana had made little progress in advancing women’s representation in decision-making processes despite being a signatory to many international treaties on affirmative action, Ms Harrison urged the government to introduce or scale up gender related courses in various educational institutions, “possibly increase female halls of residence and specialised clinics for girls to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in public discourse.”

She further encouraged the media to churn out more stories that would allow the public appreciate policy decisions on gender equality, equity and governance.

“The true value of democracy is realised only when it affirms the paramount necessity to give women and men real access to political participation under equal conditions. Women can play a major role in the nation’s development economically and they need to be allowed to participate in decision making and policy making in Ghana,” the gender activist stated.

Madam Grace Afrifa, Head of Programmes at ABANTU expressed the hope that the project would strengthen relationship between the media and ABANTU, while promoting collaborations in increasing voice for the passage of the Affirmation Action Bill into Law.

“We will continue engaging you to know the status of the bill and equip you with the requisite knowledge why Ghana needs to pass the bill into law among others to influence a more robust advocacy,” she noted.

BY ABIGAIIL ANNOH AND DOROTHY BROCKE

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