Affirmative Action Bill will be passed before end of 2016 – Oye Lithur

Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has expressed confidence that the Affirmative Action Bill will be passed by parliament before the end of the year.

“On our part as government, we remain deeply committed. Under the able leadership of His Excellency John Mahama, we will do all what is possible to ensure passage of this Bill. But we won’t achieve true gender equality if we don’t march together”, she said.

Oye Lithur was speaking at an Affirmative Action Bill Stakeholders Meeting in Accra yesterday. The meeting was attended by members of a working committee on the Affirmative Action Bill, traditional rulers, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders. The Affirmative Action Bill, in June 2016 received cabinet ascent, and would be tabled before parliament for passage soon.

It seeks a 40 percent representation and participation of women in governance, public positions of power and decision making.

The Minister said the Affirmative Action Bill seeks to rectify discrimination on the basis of sex or gender by redressing social, economic and educational gender imbalances.

“The purpose of the Affirmative Action Bill is to promote the full and active participation of women in public life by providing a more equitable system of representation in electoral politics and governance structures,” she said and reiterated government’s commitment toward the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill, reminding all and sundry that their journey for an Affirmative Action Law is not over.

“We still have work ahead of us and we need your help. Together we must advocate for the equal representation of women and men in public life and governance structures and make Affirmative Action a reality in Ghana”, she said.

Making reference to other key measures to promote gender equality, the sector minister said government have passed the National Gender Policy which aims to mainstream gender equality concerns into national development processes by improving the social, legal, civic, political, economic and social-cultural conditions of the people off Ghana particularly women and girls, and vulnerable people in society.

The Gender Minister also lauded President Mahama for showing great leadership since he was elected by “breaking the glass ceiling”.
“We have seen women occupying key Ministerial positions with some deputized by men reflecting a level of confidence in women’s leadership”.

Ms. Hillary Gbedemah, Member of the Affirmative Action Law Working Committee argued that the need for the Bill is critical than never before.

On why we need the Affirmative Action Bill, she outlined that it is part of the demands of democracy; adding the value women brings to governance cannot be underestimated. Again, she said the passage of the bill into law is a necessity and a legal obligation.

For her part, Mrs. Joana Opare, Chairperson Affirmative Action Law Working Committee underscored the need for the bill, adding the under representation of women in decision making especially in governance and public sectors is a worry.

She said the bill, has come a long way and need not to be terminated, calling on all not to rest on their oars but to gird their loins and march on to the Promised Land.

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