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Shut down companies who flout affirmative action bill – Speaker

Source The Ghana Report/Sefanam Agbobli

Even before the Affirmative Action Bill will be passed into law, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye is pushing for the shutting down of Industries and organizations who flout the law.

According to him, portions of the bill which is compulsory must come with stiffer punishments in order to ensure the effectiveness of the law.

Speaking at the speaker’s breakfast forum, the former MP for Dome Kwabenya said Ghana is lagging behind in terms of enactment of laws that will create equal opportunities for women.

“affirmative action is an instrument for using the law as social engineering. Please let us revisit the proposed legislation. The compulsory aspect of affirmative action must bite. If it’s not biting, it’s of no use. It must compel compliance. That is the essence of affirmative action law. Therefore, we should make sure for example that by the law, we should employ a certain quota of women and if you don’t, your factory will be closed and you’ll be dealt with” the speaker said.

The affirmative action bill when passed into law is expected to increase women participation in decision making.

The bill provides for a 40 per cent representation and participation of women in governance, public positions of power and decision making.

It also proposes that anyone who insults a woman just because she is vying for public office should be liable for prosecution.

For instance, Clause 38 of the draft bill says that: “A person who victimizes, obstructs or exerts undue influence and submits a female politician to verbal attack, among others, commits an offence.”

Several promises have over the years been made to ensure the bill is passed into law.

A former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur made a promise to ensure the bill was passed by the end of 2016 but that was not fulfilled.

Her successor, Otiko Afisa Djaba in November 2017 also initiated the #HeForShe campaign which sought to push parliament to pass the bill.

That also did not achieve it’s aim. The bill has suffered a number of setbacks for a period of about ten (10) years.

Gender activists as well as some Analysts have criticized the Akufo-Addo-led administration for the delay in the passage of the bill.

This comes after President Akufo Addo failed to honor his promise of ensuring the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill by the end of 2017.

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