The African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), Ghana National Chapter, has asked that the Affirmative Action Bill, which has been in Parliament for several years, be passed immediately.
The AWLN is a joint initiative of the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU), which seeks to unite pan-African women leaders across all areas of endeavour to create a more equitable continent that aligns with the goals of the Agenda 2063.
The AWLN Ghana chapter is a transformative movement and forum that involves women in leadership positions across the country.
At its first in-person planning meeting in Accra, the women’s group said the delay in passing the Affirmative Action Bill hampered the gender equality agenda and led to a lack of active engagement of women in the country.
According to Mrs Afua Ansre, Senior Gender Specialist at UN Women and member of the AWLN Ghana chapter, women’s participation in leadership roles in the country was still too low.
“We are not competing with men, we are only saying that when it comes to the brains, capabilities and abilities, we should all be given the same opportunities because we can all do the same thing so we should be given the same opportunity.”
Mrs Ansre worried that many women had been kept in the background for too long and believed they were not supposed to speak in public, adding that there was a need to push many women into the limelight to make that change.
“So, in Ghana at this stage we have 20 women each from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) out of 275 parliamentarians. Having only 40 women in parliament is still very low to make any progress and so you can see that the future is very weak. We need a critical mass of women in parliament to be able to make an impact with the necessary push,” she said.
She stated that enacting the Affirmative Action Bill, which was introduced in Parliament 2016, would help advance the women’s agenda and effect change in the country.
Madam Sheila Minka-Premo, Interim Steering Committee Member, emphasised that one sure way to bring about change was to ensure that a lot more women participate in key decision-making at the governance level.
She said the upcoming District Assembly Elections, as well as the political party primaries, were an opportunity for women to actively participate to increase their numbers, saying, “We want women to be part of decision-making and not just at the implementation level.”
The AWLN Ghana chapter joined the movement in November 2022 and has since worked with senior and youth members to ensure that the branch has a part in tackling gender issues on the African continent.
The planning meeting was on the theme: “Empowering women: unleashing potentials and driving change, the AWLN perspectives.”