The Affirmative Action Bill (AAB) Coalition has called for the replacement of the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) to facilitate the passage of the AAB by the end of this year.
The coalition has also called on the caretaker Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, as well as the executive and legislative arms of the government to push for the passage of the bill.
The AAB is a measure that seeks to promote women’s participation and representation in decision making spaces. It would recognise historical wrongs and make room for corrective action to be undertaken to remedy the wrong.
Mrs Sheila Minka-Premo, Convenor, AABCoalition, said ensuring the passage of the bill would bridge the inequality gap in the country and enhance development.
She was speaking in Accra, on Tuesday, at a roundtable discussion on “Averting the Excessive Delays in Passing the Affirmative Action Bill-The Role of Stakeholders,” organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).
Mrs Minka-Premo indicated that the absence of a substantive minister for MoGCSP was not helping the fight for bill’s passage.
She, therefore, appealed to stakeholders to get on board and play their part to ensure that the bill was passed as soon as possible.
The Convenor of AABC said inhibitions of the bill’s passage were the existence of a strong patriarchal system in the country, religious barriers and women’s lack of resources.
Others, she said,were the nature of politics in the country and constitutional arguments.
Ms Emefa Apau, a broadcast journalist with Multimedia who stressed that the media had the power to avert the excessive delays in the passage of the AAB, noted that “that power can be fully utilised or unleashed if the media is fully equipped with the proper training to ask relevant questions and armed with information on the bill.”
She suggested that media personalities be made ambassadors (both male and female) and be equipped with all that is needed to lead the rest of us to ask the relevant questions.
Ms Apau proposed the advocacy of the passage of the bill on social media platforms and through the Information Services Department (ISD) in order to reach out to every nook and cranny in the country.
“Ultimate responsibility for the passage of the AAB rests with the executive and the legislature and it is time for them to show interest by walking the talk,” she added.
Considering the rate at which other bills were passed with ease but the AAB had lingered for 11 years, she stated that if not passed, Ghanaians should remember that “the election language is understood by every politician than any other language.”
Chairperson of the discussion and a broadcast journalist, Shamima Muslim appealed to journalists to remain advocates and carry messages on the need for the passage of the bill.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR