The Member of Parliament for Walewale constituency in the North East region is advocating the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill in the Eighth parliament.
Hajia Lariba Zuwera Abudu noted that the Bill when passed into law, will ensure equality in political, social, economic and educational spheres in society.
It will also empower more women to participate in decision-making to enhance the country’s development.
Affirmative Action is a set of needed actions designed to correct history of systematic discrimination and exclusion of women in the decision-making process.
The absence of the affirmative action law, according to her, is a manifestation of the serious representation inequality in parliament and other arms of government in spite of Ghana signing to the sustainable development goals among other international conventions.
Women are said to be affected most in this regard, hence the need for deliberate policies to bridge the yawning gap.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 promotes gender equality and the Affirmative Action Bill when passed into law will improve gender equity in political representation and ultimately improve development outcomes in the country.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with THE CUSTODIAN, the Walewale lawmaker stressed the need for women to consciously support one another, adding that, “Women must support one another, when I contested the election you could hear a woman say she wouldn’t vote for a woman but if the affirmative action bill is passed and some constituencies are designated as safe seats for women, even if ten women contest the seat certainly a woman will emerge winner.”
The former Deputy Chief Executive of the Northern Development Authority further proposed to the National Council of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to consider only women participation in constituencies that are powerhouses of the party to increase the numbers of women in parliament and the governance of Ghana.
“We have to identify such seats and nurture women to contest in those areas or else it will be difficult for women. The situation is slightly different in the south because they have come to appreciate the contribution of women and therefore more women win their seats”, she observed.
Hajia Lariba noted that women who venture into the political arena face many challenges including bastardisation and character assassination compared to their male counterparts, particularly during political contests.
Hajia Lariba noted that some of the challenges that impede women contribution and involvement to nation building can also be blamed on cultural and religious practices among the various ethnic groupings.
“The northern region in particular, our religious and cultural background do not support women in politics. When you go into politics as a woman then you must pretend to be blind, deaf and dump; because what they will say to the man, you will endure it more than 100% and you will have no choice but to turn blind, deaf and dump”, she decried.