The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has marked the International Women's Day with a call on the government and parliament to expedite the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.
While acknowledging the progress made by women in the society, the Commission said the absence of the law remains a blot on any achievements made over the years.
In a statement Thursday, NCCE Communications Director, Joyce Afutu, said the Bill can no longer wait and has charged the appropriate institutions to do the "noble thing."
Read the statement below:
NCCE OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
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Today is International Women’s Day. The day also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Right and International Peace, is observed annually on 8th March to celebrate the socio-economic and political achievements of women globally. The theme for this year is,“#PressforProgress”.
Observation of the day serves as an opportunity to evaluate and celebrate the progress that women have made in all spheres of life, be it political, social or economic and to continue to press for progress in the coming year by translating the theme into action. The occasion is also a time to reflect on the various ways in which women have been set back and their rights denied and to celebrate the ‘fighters’, who sometimes at the peril of their own lives, stand up and speak out as voices of voiceless women pressing for progress.
Ghana as a member of the global community is celebrating this day under the theme, “Women Too – Press to Progress as Game Changers”. Here in Ghana, the role that women play in the economic, social, and political development cannot be overemphasized, yet, there is remarkable under-representation of women in leadership, especially public life. As we strive to translate this years’ theme, ‘Press for Progress’ into action, we hope to galvanize government and citizens to commit to ensuring that women are able to exercise their full complement of rights as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution.
Article 36 (6) of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution clearly provides the foundation for the role of women in governance and nation-building. It states, ‘The state shall afford equality of economic opportunity to all citizens; and, in particular, the State shall take all necessary steps so as to ensure the full integration of women into the mainstream of the economic development of Ghana’. This is a constitutional requirement and on International Women’s Day, it is imperative to remind government and policymakers to create the enabling environment for women to contribute meaningfully to national development. The NCCE urges Women to relentlessly “#PressforProgress”, fight for equal rights and fight to end all forms of abuse against women in Ghana and across the world.
Over the years NCCE has undertaken several advocacy campaigns on gender equality including research on “Witches Camps in Ghana”-2010, “Women in Traditional Governance”- 2011, “Status of Women in Ghana”- 2012 and “Child Early and Forced Marriage”-2014.
In 2013, the NCCE in collaboration with ABANTU for Development coordinated and published a signature campaign of Ghanaian men and women across the country demanding the passage of an Affirmative Action (AA) bill to help address the dwindling numbers of women in leadership positions in the country, and the Property Rights of Spouses bill, to protect the rights of spouses to property acquired during marriage and dissolution of marriage.
These efforts have not translated into the desired increased representation of women in politics and the decision-making processes even though some progress has been chalked. As a country, we must understand that continued exclusion of a large portion of our citizenry (women) from decision making does not create a strong and healthy democracy.
In order for us to successfully achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), we will need the active involvement of women, especially women in rural communities to ensure an acceptable standard of living; violence-free society; elimination of harmful cultural practices among women; food security and nutrition; decent work; accessible education; and guarantee right to health including sexual and reproductive health.
We call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the African Union Gender Champion for 2017 to expedite the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law as a matter of priority and urgency. Women’s rights activists, Civil Society Organisations, and all well-meaning Ghanaians should renew the clarion call for the enactment of this bill.
The National Commission for Civic Education on International Women’s Day celebrates Ghanaian women and reminds the state to fulfil the dictates of Article 36 (6) of the 1992 Constitution.
NCCE salutes All Women!
Ayekoo! Ghanaian Women!
Joyce Afutu (Mrs.)
(Director, Communications and Corporate Affairs)
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