Co- Convener, for the CSO Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens’ Participation, Efua Edith Chidi
CSOs Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens Participation has descended heavily on government as matter of a urgency to swiftly pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law which has suffered a number of setbacks for about 13 years now.
Stressing that, the passage of the bill would be the best way to empower women and make them active participants in decision making.
Adding that, passage of the Bill will accelerate Ghana’s efforts at meeting Sustainable Development Goal 5 target of Gender Parity in decision making by 2030 and the African Union Gender Agenda of 50-50 representation of both men and women in decision making.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, the Co- Convener, for the CSO Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens’ Participation, Efua Edith Chidi, hinted that, the country’s statistics show that women constitute 51 per cent of the population but there is still discrimination against them in all spheres of human endeavour.
“Ghana has committed to Affirmative Action by signing and endorsing the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) , Beijing Platform for Action , the SDGs and the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender Equality which set a minimum target of 30% of women in decision making position by 2015; the African Union (AU) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality which targets 50% representation of men and women in public and political offices in Member States.
Yet even in our parliament female representation is just 13.8%; only 23 women out of 124 ministers are representing just 18.55% ; less that 10% women representation in all District Assemblies, demonstrating that despite the provisions under our constitution and the ratification of various international right laws,” she explained.
This she said, these laws can only be useful if an Affirmative Action Law is passed and implemented to create an environment which is gender inclusive gender responsive.
“Over a decade of actions and efforts by the responsible ministry (now Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) and other stakeholders, it is quite disappointing that the Bill has never been laid in Parliament.
Ghana has the required the required technical and resource capacity to have concluded, passed and implemented the Bill.
We continue to lose out from the expected benefits of the Bill. Current and past governments have not prioritized the AAB.
Political will is seriously lacking, and commitment to gender equality has become rhetoric,” she expressed worry.
The Bill, when passed would be a major legal statement of Ghana’s commitment to addressing social, political and economic gender imbalances.
“We must come together and be committed as women groups to ensure that women have a say in the governance of this country,” she stressed.
CSOs Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens Participation, also called on Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection , representing the President of Ghana and entire Executive as a matter of urgency to the Affirmative Action Bill before Parliament as soon it as resumes from recess.
The discussion for the Affirmative Action Bill (AAB) for Ghana was initiated in 2006. At the time, it was agreed that such Bill was needed to fill the gaps created by gender imbalance in Ghana’s political, economic and social spaces.
Considering the discussion was received with unanimous agreement, it has become surprising and disappointing that 13years on, the bill not seen the light of the day.