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General News of Sunday, 22 September 2019


Don’t lower the bar, but clear all barriers for women - Manasseh Azure Awuni

Manasseh Azure Awuni Manasseh Azure Awuni

Manasseh Azure Awuni, a multiple award winning journalist with the Multi-Media Group, says he does not believe in the lowering of the standards to pave way for women to acquire positions, but rather barriers impeding their progress should be cleared.

According to him, females have already proven that they are capable of handling any assigned tasks, and this is evident in their performance in school.

He said in recent times, girls are the ones winning most prizes at speech and prize giving days at the lower schools, and same is being repeated in even schools of higher learning.

Partnering Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Ghana and FIDA-Ghana to call on the government to ensure the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill (AAB) before Parliament rises this year, on Wednesday in Accra, he urged the group to consider the cultural patterns of the various societies when creating awareness.

Mr Azure added that the groups should be culture sensitive and diplomatic with their message package.

FES-Ghana and FIDA-Ghana are on their horses chasing after the government to ensure the AAB passage, because it has undergone several stages of transformation under successive governments.

Mrs Joana Opare, former Chairperson of the AAB Technical Committee, speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said Affirmative 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.

She explained that Affirmative Action is a set of measures designed to correct a history of systematic discrimination and exclusion of women in the decision-making process, therefore, is not targeted at maligning the male gender.

Mrs Opare, hence, could not fathom what was causing the fear of the various governments to delay the passage of the Bill, although it is meant to address gender inequalities in society.

She added that the Bill was vividly scrutinised by the Cabinet of the Akufo-Addo’s administration, and all recommendations and inputs made were effected to the bill, but the challenge continues to wage on, as there have not been any guarantees of its passage.

Meanwhile, she said: ” 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.”

She pleaded for passage of the Bill, because Ghana is a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and the Sustainable Development Goals, which has gender equality as one of its goals.

“Women of Ghana have 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 it resources. Currently, Ghana’s total population is estimated at 30,554,762 million, of which male population is estimated at 50% and female also at 50%,” she lamented.

Irene Aborchie-Nyahe Esq, Executive Member of FIDA Ghana, said the Bill is to address systematic disparities against women in decision making, saying that women have roles to play in the advancement of the country’s development.