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Passing Affirmative Action Bill into Law will empower women for development – NGO

Our Lady of Mercy Community Services (OLAM), a Non-Governmental Organisation, says the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law will empower women towards inclusive and accelerated socioeconomic development.

Mr Emmanuel Atiiga, the Executive Director, OLAM, therefore, called on the government and leadership of Parliament to as matter of urgency expedite actions for the passage of the Bill, which has been in Parliament since 2011, into law.

He made the appeal when he spoke to journalists as part of the activities to mark this year’s International Women’s Day celebration in Navrongo, on the theme’, ‘Investing in women: Accelerate Progress’.

The Executive Director said that among the major tools that could be used to invest and empower women was the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into Law and providing employable skills to women and young girls.

He was confident that the Bill when passed into law would help encourage efforts towards addressing socio-cultural, political, economic, and education
al gender imbalances in private and public sectors.

‘It is significant to note that among some of the measures that could be adopted and implemented to invest in women and ensure accelerated development, include the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law and empowering women, particularly young girls, with employable skills,’ he stressed.

He argued that research had shown that countries which had invested in women were developing at a faster pace and mentioned Rwanda, Iceland, Finland and Norway as some of the examples.

He said it was so sad that many civil society organisations, including OLAM and female aspirants for the local government elections over the years, had been pushing for the Affirmative Action Bill to be passed into law, yet nothing good seems to come out of their efforts, stressing ‘the gender gap has widened socioeconomic and political development.’

The Executive Director stated that providing employable skills to women, particularly the young ones was one of the surest means to
investing in women to accelerate progress.

He said over the years, OLAM and its development partners had implemented some major interventions, aimed at empowering women economically and socially.

He said OLAM’s funding support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Senegal and the German Embassy in Ghana, had over the years empowered about 1000 young

girls in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality and Kassena-Nankana West District with employable skills.

These girls have established their own shops and were employing other young girls in the areas of smock weaving, beads making, batik, tie and dye making, dressmaking, hairdressing and Computing.

Some of these beneficiaries, who are widows, orphans and school drop-outs are now independent, taking good care of themselves and their families.

In addition to the skills training and entrepreneurship training, the beneficiaries received start-ups kits such as sewing machines, weaving equipment and cash of monies to facilitate the setting up of the
ir enterprises as well as certificates, he added.

He appealed to government to prioritise Technical and Vocational Education and encourage more females to join the training since it is very critical to addressing the unemployment challenges confronting the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency