A consultative forum to garner stakeholder support and generate momentum for the passage of the Affirmation Action (Gender Equality) Bill into law has been held in Accra.
The forum was aimed at soliciting input from key stakeholders and strengthening their commitment to the smooth passage of the Bill into law by the 8th Parliament of the Republic ahead of the 2024 General Election.
The Bill also seeks to promote a progressive increase in the active participation of women in public life from a minimum of 30 per cent to 50 per cent by the year 2023 per the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing for a more equitable system of representation in electoral politics and governance that is in accordance with the laws of the republic.
Chanting the slogan “Pass the Affirmative Action Bill Now” intermittently during the forum, the participants resolved to ensure that the bill, which is currently under a certificate of urgency in Parliament, received the necessary attention and onward passage into law by the end of the 8th Parliament.
The forum, which was organised by the Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition and the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), was also meant to get the stakeholders to make public commitments and increase their political will to ensure the progression of women through the passage of the Bill.
It was sponsored by PLAN International, Women’s Voice and Leadership in Ghana (WVL) and Global Affairs Canada.
The forum brought together about 60 participants from civil society organisations, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, women’s rights organisations and gender advocates.
The Convener of Affirmative Action Bill Coalition, Sheila Minkah-Premo, said the passage of the bill into law had become agonisingly slow, while Ghana continued to grapple with huge gaps in the number of women able to access public leadership after eight successful elections, both at the local and national levels.
“Sixty-one years after the first legislated affirmative action law in Ghana in the early 60s and having progressed from the year 2011 where the first Affirmative Action Bill was drafted, the country seems to be giving less priority in passing this gender equality legislation,” she said.
In a welcome address, the Head of Secretariat at NETRIGHT, Patricia Blankson Akakpo, said they were happy that the cabinet had given approval and the bill had been laid in Parliament but they would not hold their peace until it is passed into law.