Pass the Affirmative Action Bill before 2022 ends – NETRIGHT urges government

As today marks International Women’s Day, the Network For Women’s Rights In Ghana (NETRIGHT) has called on the government of Ghana to pass the Affirmative Action Bill before the end of 2022.

NETRIGHT's logo

The nongovernmental orgnisation made this call in a statement on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in which it lamented the failure of the country to create a gender balanced society 65 years after its independence.

International Women’s Day, March 8 is a global holiday set aside to celebrate women, their achievements, and push for friendly and fair society for them to thrive more and contribute their quota to the world's development without any restriction or discrimination.

This year’s celebration is themed ‘Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’ with a hashtag #BreakTheBias.

Ghana's Affirmative Action Bill, if passed into law, will protect women and enjoin policymakers to ensure equality of all before the law regardless of gender; appointments to state positions will be done in a way that represents both genders fairly. The Bill has however not seen the light of day despite many years of advocacy by stakeholders and promises by various politicians to ensure its passage.

According to NETRIGHT, Ghana has to do more in its efforts to attain a gender fair society where women and girls are free to succeed in their chosen areas of endeavor just like their male counterparts, without any holds barred.

"At its 65-year journey after independence with women making up 50.7% of its population, Ghana has failed in its attempts to attain a gender equal and just society. A gender equal society needs empowered women and girls who take control of their lives, make their own decisions, and succeed in their chosen pursuits," NETRIGHT said in the statement.

It went further to lament how women and girls continue to suffer discrimination in various sectors of the country’s economy, a situation that has been compounded by the advent of Covid-19.

"Ghana is still characterised by gender imbalances in many areas such as the labour market. In a recent review by NETRIGHT on the status of women in 2021, it was revealed that data from the 2015 Labour Force Survey estimated female labour force participation rate at 65.5%, which is about 8.6 and 3.8 percentage points lower than that of their male counterparts and the national average respectively.

"The review showed that, there is occupational segregation such that majority of the women who are employed are in vulnerable employment which typically pays lower wages. There is also gender asset gap in terms of asset ownership, with assets owned by women typically of lower value.

"With the glaring gender inequalities that existed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was expected that measures instituted by the government will be gender sensitive to protect gains made over the period regarding gender parity. However, Covid-19 measures were largely gender blind despite the female share (50.7%) of the population and the cultural norms that typically discriminate against women and girls in all sectors."

Below is the statement released by NETRIGHT:

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