Gender group calls for affirmative action … Ahead of 2012 elections
By Maame Agyeiwaa
Abantu for Development, in collaboration with Women in Broadcasting (Wib) and the Friedrich Stiftung Foundation, is advocating for greater participation of women in the political process in the coming general elections.
At a press conference held at the International Press Centre in Accra under the theme “Women’s Agenda for Election 2012,” activists of the gender based organisations called for affirmative action and demanded that political parties grant women equal participation in their political activities, and eliminate challenges often faced by women candidates.
In an overview given by Nafisatu Yussif, a gender activist, she lamented that although the Beijing Platform stands for Equality, as well as Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, which also ensures equal rights for men and women, women are left out in decision making. She cited the situation where only 8 % out of 250 representatives in parliament were women.
Hilary Gbedemah, agenda activist defined Affirmative Action as “concrete steps that are taken not only to eliminate discrimination, whether in employment or education, but also attempt to redress the effects of past discrimination.”
According to her, the use of Affirmative Action in Ghana was not an entirely new concept. She added that the first generating affirmative action spanned between 1957 till the 1970s, which focused mainly on closing the gap between regional and urban differences, and also on gender inequalities in politics and employment.
The second generation affirmative action, according to her, took off from 1980s and focused on gender and rural/urban differentials.
“During this period, laws were passed abolishing pay discrimination against women and opening up employment avenues hitherto occupied by men,” she noted
She enumerated socio-economic obstacles facing women who want to go into politic as being culture and tradition, dual burden for women (home makers and workers), financial, feminisation of poverty and unemployment, education and training ( illiteracy and limited access to education, high illiteracy rates among women, lack of access to information about elections, and lack of confidence.
Hilary added that politicians should be held accountable for their manifesto promises, and be taken to task.
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