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Report EU-IDEG Forum on Strengthening Women Inclusion - 2021

19 October 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

Active participation in governance, political and public decision making remains one of the main areas of inequality against women in Ghana. Several factors can be attributed to this systematic under-representation and marginalization of women in the country. First, the first-past-the-post electoral system in which the candidate who wins the most votes in each constituency is elected has hindered the effective representation of women in the country. Women are often pitched against stronger and more resourced male candidates to contest political party primaries and parliamentary elections. This has been exacerbated by the emergence of monetization in Ghana’s electoral politics thereby contributing to their systemic marginalization in the country’s representative democracy. Aside these, cultural and stereotypical factors have combined to further hinder women’s representation in decision making. 

Various proposals on mechanisms to address women’s low representation have been advocated for but not adopted. Notable among them is the Affirmative Action (AA) Bill of 2011, which has undergone several revisions but is yet to be passed into law. Meanwhile, advocates of the Bill have indicated that the Bill if passed, will pave the way for further reforms to strengthen the political representation and inclusion of women in national and local development. 

It is against this background that the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana organized a seminar dubbed “Strengthening Women’s Inclusion in Governance and the Urgency of the Affirmative Action Bill: Process, Challenges and Way Forward”, to support the campaign for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law. 

The seminar was aimed at providing the platform to identify the impediments of the passage of the Bill and to strengthen the existing coalition while building strong public support for the passage of the Bill. The seminar also aimed at providing a roadmap and guidelines for the effective enactment of the Bill by 2021. The seminar brought together leading actors, policy makers and stakeholders from Gender Advocacy Organisations, Parliament, relevant Ministries, Political Parties, Media, Women’s organizations and Universities and International Development Agencies to deliberate on the subject 

Panelist for the seminar included Mrs. Sheila Minkrah-Premo, the Convener of the Coalition for the Affirmative Acton Bill; Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection; Nana Oye Bampoe- Addo, former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection; Dr. Rose Mensah-Kutin, Director of Abantu for Development; H.E. Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, High Commissioner of Rwanda to Ghana; and H.E. Mrs. Alicia Rico Perez Del Pulgar, Ambassador of Spain to 

Ghana. The panelists at the seminar pointed out the importance of women’s participation in governance and urged Cabinet to approve the Bill in good time for its passage in 2021. 

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