|MOWAC And Partner Agencies Meet – To Develop Affirmative Action Bill|
|Tuesday, 11 October 2011 10:42|
Ghana has fulfilled her international obligations by ratifying various treaties that seek to address gender inequalities in the areas of education, politics and public life, employment and control of resources.
Successes have, however, been chequered and to begin the process of developing an Affirmative Action Bill, the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) and the Department of Women, together with Partner Gender Advocates will launch the process of nationwide public consultations to inform the development of an Affirmative Action Bill in Accra today.
This initiative is in recognition of the need to review and give effect to the Cabinet Decision of 1998 on a Policy Guideline on Affirmative Action, and also in response to recommendations made at various for a by gender advocates and experts.
Affirmative Action, which is a temporary corrective measure to reduce inequities and facilitate the contribution of women and other vulnerable groups to development, was central to the agenda of World Conference of the 1990s.
It still continue to be an issue on the agenda key among these was the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, in 1995 where governments committed themselves to encourage and accelerate women’s participation in all public and policy organs and subsequent to this, the Government of Ghana through Cabinet in 1998 issued a Policy Guideline on Affirmative Action, calling for 20 per cent quota for women’s representation on all public boards and official bodies.
In May this year, representatives of political parties, Members of Parliament and civil society organisations, under the auspices of MOWAC and Electoral Commission held a workshop in Koforidua, sponsored by International IDEA, on the theme: “Affirmative Action: key to Increasing Women’s Participation in Decision-making”.
In a communique, the participants recognised the crucial importance of equal representation and participation of women in governance and decision making and affirmed their commitment to effective participation and transformational charge in governance processes.
They acknowledged the significant contribution of women towards national development and alluded to the various historical, traditional and cultural practices that hinder women’s participation in Ghana stressing that there cannot be sustainable development and real democracy if women continue to be under-represented in governance and decision making.
They said knowing that women form 51 per cent of the population of Ghana but were grossly underrepresented in governance and decision making and conscious of the fact that other countries like Rwanda and South Africa which had implemented Affirmative Action legislation were increasing the levels of women’s participation in governance and decision making, there was the need for the government and its institutions to enact a comprehensive legislation by 2012 that ensured that there would be equal representation of men and women in Parliament. District Assemblies and board of corporations and Institutions within the public services in strict compliance with the legal obligations imposed on the government under the 1992 constitution.
They also called on political parties to promote internal reforms aimed at gender equality and in particular, ensure that no political party shall have an executive committee at every level from branch/polling station to national, which is not constituted by at least 30 per cent of either of the gender.
They further called for the funding of political parties by the Stare with a view to promoting representation of women candidates in public elections, as well as giving more incentives to political parties that put women in winnable seats.
The participants said they were mindful of international obligations and treaties intended to increase the participation of women in governance and decision making and were aware that the State and its institutions were obliged to comply with provisions under the 1992 Constitution.
They mentioned the internal conventions as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, (CEDAW 1979), African Charter, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981), Beijing Platform of Action (1995). The African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which Ghana has signed or ratified and these are reinforced by provisions in the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, specifically articles -17 (1&2), 21 (3), 35(5), and 35 (6) (d).
Source: Daily Graphic