The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye is advocating the shutting down of industries and organizations that flout the yet to be passed affirmative action law.
According to the Speaker, compulsory aspects of the bill which is yet to be presented to parliament must come with stiffer punitive measures in order to ensure the effectiveness of such a law.
Speaking at the speaker’s breakfast forum, the former Dome Kwabenya MP said Ghana is lagging behind when it comes to enactment of laws that create equal opportunities for women.
“Please let us revisit the proposed legislation, the compulsory aspect of the affirmative action must really bite. It must bite, if it is not biting then it is of no use. It must compel compliance…therefore we should make sure that by the law we should employ a certain quota of women and If you don’t, your factory will be closed down and you will be dealt with and these are all done by law in certain countries.”
The Affirmative Action Bill, which has suffered a number of setbacks for about 10 years now, was supposed to increase the participation of women in decision making.
It provides for a 40 per cent representation and participation of women in governance, public positions of power and decision making.
The bill also proposes that anyone who insults a woman just because she is vying for public office should be liable for prosecution.
For instance, Clause 38 of the draft bill says that: “A person who victimises, obstructs or exerts undue influence and submits a female politician to verbal attack, among others, commits an offence.”
A promise made by a former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), Nana Oye Lithur, to ensure that the bill was passed by the end of 2016 was not fulfilled.
In November 2017, the then sector Minister, Mrs Otiko Afisa Djaba, also launched a campaign dubbed: ‘HeforShe’, an initiative that sought to push for Parliament to pass the bill.
Following the delays in passing the bill, many gender activists have been critical of the government for dragging its feet in the passage of the bill into law.
In May 2018, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ensure that the Affirmative Action Bill was passed into law before the 2019 State of the Nation address, but that did not happen.