SOURCE: Ghana Today

ABANTU for Development, a gender and policy advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has called for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill before the 2024 general elections to boost women’s representation in governance structures.

The Resource Mobilisation and Sustainability Manager, ABANTU, Mrs. Hamida Harrison, who made the call at a press conference in Accra on Thursday, raised concerns about the potential further erosion of women’s already low representation in Parliament following the recent primaries conducted by the two major political parties in Ghana.

“With these two parties occupying all the seats in Parliament over the past seven elections, it is likely impossible for Ghana to maintain the current 14.5% level of women’s representation in Parliament after the 2024 elections,” she noted.

She stated that out of the 275 Members of Parliament, only 40 are women, placing Ghana below the global average of 26.7% and the Sub-Saharan African average of 27%.

“Persistent inequality between men and women in decision-making roles raises concerns about achieving effective social transformation and the democratization process,” Mrs. Harrison emphasized.

She noted that after committing to the Beijing Platform for Action, which mandates a minimum of 30% women’s representation in decision-making positions, Ghana was yet to implement effective measures to achieve this goal

“Ghana’s Constitution recognizes equality and non-discrimination as central to democratic ideals. However, when the state and institutions like political parties fail to uphold these ideals, it undermines the true value of democracy,” she added.

Stressing the media’s crucial role, Mrs Harrison said, “Advocacy for passing the Affirmative Action Bill will require changing deep-rooted attitudes through multi-pronged processes and involving various stakeholders to carry the agenda forward.”

“As policy decisions on gender equality and equity within governance have profound consequences for current and future generations, the media plays a vital role in educating the public and shaping opinions,” Mrs Harrison stated.

She called on parliament to pass the long-awaited Affirmative Action Bill before the 2024 elections to increase women’s representation and foster a more inclusive and representative political system.

The Affirmative Action Bill, pending in Ghana’s Parliament for years, aims to promote greater inclusion of women, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups in positions of power and decision-making.

Joyce Adwoa Animia Ocran, ISD

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