The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, is demanding a comprehensive review of the country’s affirmative action framework.
He bemoaned what he says are gaping loopholes in the law, which he contends will hinder strict compliance.
The Speaker was speaking at a Breakfast Meeting with advocates for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill where he stressed on the need for the law to be revisited.
“There are a number of gaping gaps. We cannot allow ourselves to be at the bottom of the world ladder when it comes to political representation. Not only that but the issues concerning maternity leave, for example, is six months in other countries. But in Ghana, it’s for three months. Affirmative Action is an instrument for using the law for sexual engineering. That is why I am telling the Gender Minister to let us revisit the proposed legislation. The compulsory aspect of affirmative action doesn’t bite. So we should make sure that by the law, we should employ the single paper agreement.”
Meanwhile, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has called for an overhaul of the 1992 Constitution to correct the marginalisation of women.
Speaking at the same meeting, the Minority Leader opined that the problem was fundamentally inherent in the constitution.
“To improve and increase women presentation in political and public life, my comment has been that at that level, the consequences of it is the very nature of the structure of the 1992 constitution. We have to do justice to it by a comprehensive review which will allow for greater women participation. Ghana deserves affirmative action legislation.”
The bill, which has been pending for about 13 years, is expected to increase the participation of women in decision making.
Ghana’s Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into Law, will require the government to ensure equitable gender representation at all levels of governance and decision-making in Ghana, as well as address other social and economic imbalances.
When passed, it is expected to affect women’s representation in the public service, ministerial positions, independent constitutional bodies, boards of state institutions, the security services and political parties.
The final draft of the Bill received cabinet approval in 2016, but was not tabled in Parliament and, therefore, did not reach the consideration stage before the end of the 6th Parliament of the 4th Republic.
Gender Ministry petitioned over Affirmative Action Bill
Months ago, a Civil Society Group, Cluster on Decentralization and Citizen Participation, petitioned the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection on the need to lay before parliament the Affirmative Action Bill by the end of the year.
The Convener of the group, Efua Chidi in an address after they marched to protest the delay in the passage of the bill said it is critical for Ghana’s development.
“The passage of the affirmative action bill will accelerate Ghana’s development and its effort in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 5, which targets 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.”