Professor Akua Kuenyehia, a retired judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has re-ignited the call for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law by the current parliament.
She called for stronger political will and cooperation from the political and bureaucratic classes towards its passage since the bill had been on the backburner for far too long.
Prof. Kuenyehia, the Chairperson of the Affirmative Action Legislative Committee, said the delay in the passage of the legislation could be attributed to lots of misunderstanding, fatigue and resistance inherent in the Ghanaian culture and norms.
Prof. Kuenyehia, who made the call at a workshop on the Affirmative Action Bill Advocacy and Communication Strategy in Accra on Thursday, urged all stakeholders in the country to embrace the strategy to push for the passage of the law.
The Affirmative Action advocacy seeks to ensure quota representation of women in public life, leadership and decision-making positions and provide avenue for women to have equal opportunities in the governance structure.
The bill, drafted in 2013, is designed to give women and other minority groups in the country a voice and has been in and out of parliament for more than five occasions in the past six years.
The retired ICC judge expressed aversion that it did not make sense for a nation with 51.2 per cent female population to have only 38 women legislators in a 275-member parliament, while women constituted only 5.2 per cent of assembly members at the district level.
She expressed unhappiness over political parties' unwillingness to cede "safe seat" to women and was of the conviction that women were better placed with useful knowledge and experiences to make better decision on matters affecting women.
Prof. Kuenyehia said the journey for the affirmative action started in the 1960s but the commitment to it had been at best half-hearted, a situation exacerbated by the fact that, the basis for the legislation was not properly shared or understood.
"Affirmative action is not just about open-ended thing, but an attempt to correct the imbalances that have existed in our society and those imbalances can be corrected when there is a will and co-operation of everybody," Prof. Kuenyehia pointed out.
The Reverend Dr Comfort Asare, Director at the Department of Gender, in an address, said the struggle for the promulgation of the law had taken a nose dive and, therefore, encouraged women activists and pro-gender CSOs not to lose focus, but strive hard towards the realisation of the goal.
Ms. Rokya Ye Dieng, the UNDP Resident Representative, for her part, said the UNDP supported the affirmation action advocacy because promotion of gender equity and women empowerment had been recognized worldwide as a catalyst for achieving the sustainable development of communities.
She urged the nation to work towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goal five target of "ensuring women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life".
Gender inequality worldwide leads to discrimination, social injustice and largely relegate the large segment of the society's human resource to the background.
Gender inequality manifests itself in all aspects of human life, including economy, security, education, health and politics and leads to unfair sharing of the national resources.
It is widely accepted that a country's socio-economic development is intrinsically linked to ensuring women and men, girls and boys enjoyment of equal treatment and access to equal opportunities in all spheres of life.
The workshop, which was jointly organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, attracted communication experts, academics and gender advocates, as well as legislators and members of pro-gender civil society organisations (CSOs).
The participants are expected to devise effective advocacy and communication strategy to rejuvenate discussions and galvanise public support for the passage of the law.