The rector of the Law Institute, Hilary Gbedemah, has stated that all things being equal, the Affirmative Action Bill will be passed into law by the first quarter of 2014.
According to Ms. Gbedemah, the draft Affirmative Action Bill, which is expected to bring parity between men and women and deprived groups in the country, will be finalized by December 2013 and sent to Cabinet for consideration.
‘We have to be realistic and think about early 2014, because we are already in August. The drafting has not finished so a realistic timeline for the bill to be passed I think will be the first quarter of the year 2014,’ she said.
Ms. Gbedemah made this statement during a stakeholder working group meeting organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) to solicit recommendations for the draft Affirmative Action Bill which will be finalized at the national stakeholders meeting before it is put before Cabinet.
The two-day meeting was sponsored by the European Union (EU) and the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD).
The meeting, themed ‘Fighting Under-Representation of Women in Political Decision Making Process,’ was to provide civil society and other groups the opportunity to make recommendations and suggestions that would enrich the draft Affirmative Action Bill.
She said although the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is spearheading the passage of the bill, it was important for civil society and other groups to also make contributions ‘so that as wide as possible a range of consultations will go into the bill.’
She said the consultations with civil society have helped to incorporate structures like the code of ethics to make women’s entry to politics and public office a little more amenable.
‘After this programme we will be consolidating the recommendations that have come out of this process under various headings and we will present this to both the minister and the drafting committee so that if there is anything we left out it will be incorporated,’ she said.
Dr. Ransford Gyampo, a research fellow at the IEA Governance Unit, said the workshop falls under the Integrated Support Programme for Inclusive Reform and Democratic Dialogue (INSPIRED) project aimed at supporting inclusive dialogue.
He said women are still being marginalized despite Ghana’s globally-acclaimed success in democracy adding that a dialogue involving the main political forces and civil society groups around the issue of under-representation of women in political decision-making will help further the developing of an inclusive and participatory democracy.
‘The IEA would like to see the passage and immediate implementation of the Affirmative Action Bill which will guarantee women a significant position in the political decision-making process,’ he noted.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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