President Akufo-Addo has been urged to fulfill his promise of passing the two-decade-old Affirmative Action Bill into law.
According to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Ghana and FIDA-Ghana which made the call on Thursday at a press conference in Accra, Mr. Akufo-Addo, who is the ‘Gender Champion’ for Africa, ought to honour his promise to women and girls in Ghana by passing the bill into law which would ensure gender parity in political decision-making and appointments.
Their call on President Akufo-Addo comes at a time the minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, is billed to be vetted by parliament.
The two groups are of the firm belief that Ghana has not set a ‘good example’ in Africa and on the global stage when it comes to promoting gender parity.
In a document titled: ‘Call To Action – Pass The Affirmative Action Law,’ the two civil society groups championing the agenda of women in Ghana, lamented that despite assurances from the government, the momentum for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill seems to be waning.
“The Affirmative Action Law transcends party lines, and presents an opportunity for the two main political parties to join forces to ensure the passage of the bill,” they stressed.
According to the document presented by the two groups, the gender statistics in parliament has been a constant point of reference with 86.2 per cent male and 13.8 per cent female.
They added that “these findings clearly demonstrate that despite the provisions under our national constitution and the ratification of various international human rights laws, such as the African Charter on human and people’s rights and CEDAW, these laws will only be beneficial if an affirmative action law is passed and implemented to create an environment which is gender inclusive and gender responsive.”
An Executive of FIDA-Ghana, Afua Addotey, lamented that whilst countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, among others, are making significant progress in promoting and ensuring gender parity, Ghana continues to lag behind.
‘Don't fail us’
However, FES-Ghana and FIDA-Ghana are uncertain about the passage of the bill into law in 2018 as President Akufo-Addo promised considering the fact that the bill was currently not before parliament for consideration and the fact that parliament is due for recess in November.
Therefore, they have appealed to lawmakers to help with the passage of the bill, saying “our parliamentarians must not fail Ghanaian women and girls, and we call on the legislature to act on the AAB when parliament resumes sitting in November 2018, at the 3rd meeting of the second session of the 7th Parliament of the 4th Republic.”
Whilst waiting for parliament to pass the bill, we respectfully ask the President to ensure gender parity in his appointments, according to Madam Addotey.
Programme Coordinator of FES-Ghana, Ernestina Ofoe, expressed the belief that when passed, the law is going to bring significant social change in Ghana.
Discussions on the need for an affirmative action law in Ghana started in 1998 and since then women in Ghana have been pressing to see the bill passed but to no avail and it seems they have a long way to go in their advocacy work, as their male counterparts in the political space do not appear ready to get the bill passed.