Views: 306 Ishmael Junourgh, Accra,Sep 22,19, Sun, 6;00pm FIDA-Ghana and Fes Foundation have launch a campaign for passage of the affirmative action b...
Ishmael Junourgh, Accra,Sep 22,19, Sun, 6;00pm
FIDA-Ghana and Fes Foundation have launch a campaign for passage of the affirmative action bill in Accra, ast week.
The full speech by an Executive Member of FIDA-Ghana, Mrs. Irene Aborchie-Nyahe is as folow:
Good Morning Ladies and Gentelemen, all protocol observed. Let me once again welcome you all the official launch for advocacy for the passage of Affirmative Action Bill by FIDA- Ghana and Fes Foundation Preliminary Isues.
What are Going to Discuss?
- what is Affirmative Action?
- What is privilage?
- What is right?
- Legal basis for the right to have the Affrimativeaction Bill.
- The social political effect of the Affirmative Action as far as development is concerned.
What is Affirmative Action?
Affirmative Action is a set of needed measures/actions designed to correct history of systemeic discrimination and exclusion of women in the decision making process. it also means the practice or policy aimed at correcting a generational/historical imbalance of rights and responsibility.
It is important that women play wqual role when it comes to decision making. It seems to me that for now the only significant decison that women take in this country is to wake up at 3.00 a.m. and to go and queue during the elction and vote to elect largely men to rule the country and take major decsions tht affect their lives daily without them. Afrter the elcetion issues concerning women are puashed to the background. I threfore say that if women do nit participate in th voting process men will not have power to rule.
QUESTION: HOW ARE WOMEN USING THE POWER THEY HAVE THAT ENABLE THEM TO GIVE POWER TO MEN TO RULE OVER THEM?
So Affrimative Action demands that significant and practical measures are put in place so that males and females will join hands to move the country forward in the right direction.
Is Affirmative Action a Privilege?
A privilege means something you do not have a right to, but you are being accorded a special legal right, exception or immunity granted to a person or class of persons. If Affirmative Action is a privilege, it will mean we have to be begging or an otherwise to have that right. OR example, it we are pleading or begging the state now to pass the Affirmative Action Bill, then it means that the state regards the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill as privilege that it may grant to women.
What is Right? Right has been defined generally by the Black’s Law Dictionary as:
- A Reasonable expectation involved in life in civilized society. It is natural OR
- It is a recognized claim to act or forbearance by another or by all others in order to make the interest effective.
Legal Basis: there are ample evidence in the Constitution of Ghana, International Conventions, Regional Charters that firmly established that Affirmative Action is a right and not a privilege.
The Constitution of Ghana
The preamble to the Constitution of Ghana states that;
“In the name of the Almighty God in exercise of our natural inalienable right to establish a framework of government which shall secure for ourselves and posterity the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity.
In the spirit of friendship and peace with all people of the world and in solemn declaration and affirmation of our commitment to freedom, justice, probity and accountability, the principle that all powers of government spring from the sovereign will of the people, the principle of universal adult suffrage, the rule of law, the protection and preservation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, unity and stability for our nation do hereby adopts, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”
The second evidence for Affirmative Action in Ghana is found in Article 36 (6),
‘’(6) 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 main dtream of economic development of Ghana”.
Article 12 (1) and (2)
- The Fundamental Human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution shall be respect and upheld by the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and all other organs of government and its agencies.
- Every person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion, colur, religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to he fundamental human rights and freedom of the individual contained in this Chapter but subject to respect fo the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest.
Evidence is found in Article 15 (1) which states that—‘the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable”, it appears that the dignity of women in Ghana are being adhered to per tenants of the Constitution of Ghana. This is because women have been advocating for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill for decades for now without success. Clearly, the inactions of the Government is a violation of the Constitution of Ghana. If are all Ghanaians, section of the population, I.E. women need not negotiate for a right that is constitutionally guaranteed as in the Affirmative Action Bill. The only thing the Affirmative Action Bill seeks to correct is the historical mistake of leaving women out of decision making process.
It is therefore clear the continuous refusal or neglect on the part of the State to pass the Bill is discrimination against women. Again is a violation of Article 17 (1), (2), (3) and (4) and it states as follows;
- “All persons shall be equal before the law.
- A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed, or social economic status.
- For the purpose of this article, “discriminate” means to give different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, gender occupation, religion or creed, whereby persons of one description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another description are not made subject or are granted privileges or advantages which are not granted to persons of another description.”
The state has the full backing of the Constitution to pass the Bill. It is clear that the Constitution allows for enactment of laws to correct social imbalances like lack of women fully representing in the decision making process. Per Article 17 (4a) it states that: “Nothing in this Article shall prevent parliament from enacting laws are reasonably necessary to provide for the implementation of policies and programmes aimed redressing social, economic or educational imbalance in the Ghanaian society.”
Convention on elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW) which Ghana signed in 1980 and was ratified in 1986, Article 7 of the Convention provides that parties including the government of Ghana, take all appropriate measures (including passing the Affirmative Action Bill to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of their countries and in particular to ensure women are in equal terms with men in terms of holding of public office among others.
Article 8 provides that women should be able to represent their …
Also Article paragraph 1 of the convention for the adoption of States parties to take special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women. This provision calls for direct Affirmative Action.
Ghana has signed up and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) which had gender equality as one of its goals.
The SDGs which have the 5th goal as gender equality will shape national development plans.
Ghana is a signatory to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right which came into force on the 21st October, 1986, Ghana ratified on 24 th day of January, 1989. Here again Article 18 (3) specifically provides for states working to ensure the elimination of all forms discrimination against women. The protocol of the Charter known as the Women’s Protocol specifically provides for right of women to participate in the decision in the making process in Article 9.
What is the socio-political argument in favour of Affirmative Action? The development of the country cannot be left in the hands of the 49% if the population fo the country need to develop at 100% rate. (EXPLAIN)
Conclusion—Women of Ghana has gathered enough evidence against the state and the ruling is that we are being discriminated against which is a violation of the Constitution. Affirmative Action is for the benefit of the country not for the benefit of women. It will enable the nation to harness its resources. Currently Ghana’s total population is estimated at 30,554,752 million of which Male population is estimated at 50% and Female also at 50%.
Discrimination especially historical discrimination cannot correct itself. It will take pragmatic efforts on the side of the State to bring about this change. The State needs to pass this Bill to eliminate to some extent the institutional discrimination.
Socialization—men have been socialized to see themselves as leaders and women are comforters, helpers and followers. This socialization is anti-development and it must cease. Please pass the Affirmative Action Bill now.