Written By Bright Emmanuel Abia
Affirmative action originally refers to a set of policies and practices preventing discrimination based on race, creed, color, and national origins, now often refer To policies positively supporting members of disadvantaged or underrepresented groups that have previously suffered discrimination in areas such as education, employment, and housing.
Historically, the affirmative action has achieved goals such as bridging inequalities in employment and pay, increasing access to education, promoting diversity, and redressing apparent past wrongs, harms, or hindrances.
The nature of affirmative action policies varies from region to region and exists on a spectrum from a hard quota to merely targeting encouragement for increased participation.
Some countries use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of government jobs, political positions, and school vacancies must be reserved for members of a certain group; an example of this is the reservation system in India.
In some other regions where quotas are not used, minority group members are given preference or special consideration in selection processes. In the United States, affirmative action in employment and education has been the subject of legal and political controversy. In 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Grutter v. Bollinger, held that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race as a plus-factor when evaluating applicants holistically and maintained the prohibition on the use of quotas.
Ghana has signed on to various protocols and conventions to ensure women’s equal participation in decision-making spaces. Ghana is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which provides that, Parties must take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country.
The Beijing Declaration also calls on member states to ensure equal participation of women and men in decision-making. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also state that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.
Currently, out of about a population of 52% women, only 38 out of 275 members of parliament are women. 7 percent % of MMDCEs in Ghana are women and 30% of Ministerial appointees are women.
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana, in Article 35(6) states that “the State shall take appropriate measures to achieve reasonable gender balance in the recruitment and appointment to public offices.” Article 17 adds that no citizen shall be discriminated against on the basis of gender, race, or religion. These provisions, therefore, mandate Ghana to ensure women’s active participation in governance and decision making spaces.
The affirmative action bill when passed to law will enable both men, women, and the less privileged have access to equal rights for a better and peaceful society for us all…
Let’s all support this good idea by educating and encouraging both the young and old on the need for the affirmative action bill to be passed in Ghana.