Affirmative Action Now!

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We, the under listed Civil Society Groups with interests in the issues of Gender, Inclusion and social justice, collectively demand from the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, acting on behalf of the current government headed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to present the Affirmative Action Bill to Parliament Now.

We are concerned that the Affirmative Action Bill which has been listed as one of the Bills on the agenda for this session of Parliament will not see the light of day since it has not been laid before Parliament which resumed sitting in June 2019 and will go on recess in August 2019.

Again, the delay in laying the Bill raises concerns for civil society groups, development partners and Ghanaian citizens who have followed with keen interest over the last decade the processes towards the passage of an Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Law for Ghana.

In June 2019, Guinea-Bissau passed their Gender Equality Law and subsequently appointed  50% women and 50% men to Cabinet positions.

Similar efforts across other African countries demonstrate how their governments have been responsible and committed to ensuring gender equality within their political spaces. The President of South Africa recently appointed an equal number of men and women (14:14) to its cabinet. In 2018, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia appointed into Cabinet positions 50% women and 50% men. In October 2018, Ethiopia crowned this remarkable achievement with the nomination of Sahle-Work Zewde as the Female President of that country. Rwanda; a country that emerged out of a devastated civil war tops the world chart of women’s representation in Parliament with 49 out of 80 member Parliament (Lower Chamber) representing 61.25%. This was achieved by deliberate and committed affirmative actions by the state, having recognized the inherent potentials of both genders. Pragmatic and progressive actions were taken through laws and policies including Constitutional provisions for quotas and capacity building for women to enter politics. Today, the female dominated Rwandan nation has attracted global attention for making giant leaps in many development indices.

Ghana's Affirmative Action Bill seeks to achieve what these countries have achieved. In our country, female representation in Parliament is still 11%; only 22 women out of 111 ministers are women representing just 19.82%; less than 10% women are represented in all District Assemblies. Ghana often touted as a beacon of democracy, pales in comparison to these examples. If passed and implemented, the affirmative action law would fulfill the state’s Constitutional obligations as enshrined in Article 35(6) to achieve reasonable regional and gender balance in recruitment and appointment to public offices and Article 36 (6) which provides that “The State shall afford equality of economic opportunity to all citizens; and, in particular, the State shall take all necessary steps so as to ensure the full integration of women into the mainstream of the economic development of Ghana”.

The passage of the Affirmative Action Bill will further accelerate Ghana’s efforts at meeting Sustainable Development Goal 5 target of 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. The president of Ghana being the African Union Gender Champion and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals means that we must double our efforts towards achieving these targets and this is why the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill is imminently necessary.

We therefore stand by our call on the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, representing the President of Ghana and the entire Executive to lay the Affirmative Action Bill before Parliament.

Signed: 

1.     Women’s Manifesto Coalition

2.     Women in Law and Development in Africa

3.     Abantu for Development

4.     International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ghana

5.     Women Media and Change (WOMEC)

6.     Free the Marginalised Women Advocates (FREMWA)

7.     Caritas Ghana

8.     Golden Star Foundation

9.     Voice of People with Disability, Ghana (Voice Ghana)

10.  Child Research and Resource Centre (CRRECENT)

11.   Community Development and Advocacy Centre (CODAC)

12.     Action for Sustainable Development (ASUDEV)

13.     SMAid International

14.     Penplusbytes

15.     Pronet North

16.     4-H Ghana

17.     Association of Women for the Preservation of the Environment

18.     Youth Empowerment for Life (YefL)

19.     NORSAAC

20.  Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC)

21.  Our Lady of Mercy Community (OLAMCS), Navrongo

22.  Penal Reform Ghana (PRG)

23.  African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA)

24.     Youth and Women Empowerment (YOWE)

25.     Lorlornyo FM

26.     Ghana Community Radio Network

27.     Radio Builsa

28.     Radio Ada

29.     Radio Justice

30.     Daasgift Quality Foundation

31.     CILTAD/Coastal TV

32.     Kekeli Foundation

33.  Volta Educational Renaissance Foundation (VEReF)

34.  Amnesty International, Ghana

35.  Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)

36.  Association of Women in Media (ASWIM)

37.     Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS)

38.     Ark Development Organisation

39.     Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA)

40.     Women Integrated Development Organization (WIDO)

41.     Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA)

42.     Women’s Hope Foundation

43.     Center for the Development of people (CEDEP)

44.     Peoples’ Dialogue on Human Settlement (PDHS),

45.     Local Governance Network (LOGNET).

46.  Convention People’s Party (CPP)

47.  Odekro PMO

48.  Musician Union of Ghana (MUSIGA)

49.  Alliance of Women in Media Africa (AWMA)

50.    Nsempo

51.     International Child Development Program

52.     Foundation for Self Reliance Ghana.

53.     Talent Search International

54.     Hope For Future Generations (HFFG)

55.     National Democratic Party

56.     Search for Rural Development

57.     Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT)

58.     Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED)