National Women’s Summit pushes for passage of Affirmative Action Bill


The 6th edition of the National Women’s Summit and Expo, organised by Charterhouse Productions, was a resounding success.

The prestigious event was organised in commemoration of International Women’s Day. The summit, themed ‘Inspire Inclusion’, was a platform for women to come together and discuss various topics related to women empowerment and leadership.

As part of the activities of the summit, participants were enlightened on the content of the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill, 2023 (AA Bill), how it would drive inclusion for women, and the progress made so far regarding its passage into law.

It was also targeted at highlighting the justifications for the passage of the AABill and rallying women of all walks of life to lend their voices and support toward advocating for the passage of the bill into law.

During the summit, a petition was presented by young adolescent girls from Plan International Ghana and Affirmative Action Bill Coalition to two Members of Parliament represented on the Gender and Children’s Committee, calling on the Parliament of Ghana to prioritise the passing of the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill of Ghana into law. Present to receive the petition on behalf of Parliament were Lydia Lamisi Akanvariba, MP for Tempane Constituency, and Tina Gifty Mensah MP for Weija Gbawe Constituency.

In her opening speech, the convener of the event and the C.E.O of Charterhouse, Theresa Ayoade, applauded the various hurdles women are jumping to break the barrier.

She inspired the young generation to stand up and be more intentional in pursuing gender parity for themselves. She shed more light about the summit’s passion and quest to have the Affirmative Action Bill passed.

“For advocacy, the NWS is passionate about the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill and is collaborating with the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition to advocate for the passage of the bill by Parliament.

The NWS is also collaborating with Plan International Ghana on their Pad Bank project aimed at providing female students in rural and deprived areas with sanitary pads so they do not have to miss out on school during periods.”

Given that the bill was currently before that committee in Parliament, it was a petition to the committee to speed up its processing of the bill and ensure it is laid for second reading before the end of Parliament’s first sitting for the year.

The bill aims to promote gender equality and empower women by ensuring their equal participation and representation in key decision-making spaces across all sectors of society. The bill, when enacted into law, is the only guaranteed way to address the proven marginalisation of women in decision-making positions in both the public and private sectors of Ghana.

According to Anna Nongnedome Anabre, Project Manager at She Leads Campaign – a female-led advocacy project in partnership with Plan International which have been actively advocating for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law since 2021, it very urgent for the Parliament of Ghana to pass the affirmative action bill into law.

“On the occasion of the National Women’s Summit in celebration of the International Women’s Day, we the girls and young women of the ‘She Leads’ Ghana consortium urge the Parliament of Ghana to rise to the occasion and embrace the opportunity to pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law.

“Across Africa, many countries have made strides toward gender parity in governance, notably through the implementation of affirmative action measures that have increased women’s representation in parliament.

By embracing affirmative action, we can foster a society that is more inclusive and equitable. Let us not merely observe progress from the sidelines but actively shape it, working toward a future where equality and opportunity are accessible to all,” she mentioned.

The Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill, 2023, in simple terms, states there should be no less than 30 percent representation of any gender in key-decision making spaces in Ghana. So based on that premise, it will be a temporary measure that will provide for the progressive increase in the active participation of women in public and political life from a minimum threshold of 30 percent to 50 percent by the year 2030, according to the SDG 5.

The representative of the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition highlighted that this law is a requirement from Article 17(4) of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, which in simple terms states that nothing prevents Parliament from enacting a law to redress aspects of social, economic, educational imbalance; and research shows that there is gender imbalance in all spheres of life in Ghana.

Thus, in line with the international call to invest in women and accelerate progress, the best investment to address the marginalisation of women in key decision-making spaces in Ghana is the passage of the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill. An affirmative action law is the only guaranteed way we can accelerate progress toward gender equality in Ghana.

The advocacy for passage of this law is premised on the fact that we recognise the invaluable contributions that women make to our society and economy, and it is essential that we create an enabling environment that supports and guarantees them a seat at the table.

“Ghana needs to pass the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill into law now to ensure parity in leadership in governance institutions to achieve sustainable development by 2030,” Lawyer Sheila Minkah-Premo, Convener, Affirmative Action Bill Coalition.

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