Participants at a regional consultative forum on Affirmative Action Draft Legislation in Takoradi to solicit inputs into the bill have suggested that women must also pay the groom’s price before marriage.
They said as it pertained in Southern India where women paid the dowry of men to marry them, it should be included in the Affirmative Action Draft Bill to make it an option for women interested to marry to pay the groom's price.
They said although as Ghanaian or African culture did not permit a woman to pay the dowry of a man to marry him, society had changed where women were now financially sound and rubbing shoulders with men, some of whom were jobless and could not afford the means to buy all the items required by tradition to marry a woman.
They, however,said due to the cultural barrier prohibiting women to pay men's dowry, it had prolonged the marriage of many matured women resulting in frustration and complelling them to visit prayer camps for help.
Contributing to the discussion, Madam Emelia Arthur, Deputy Western Regional Minister, said there had been instances where women had purchased some of the items required for marriage to support their would-be husbands.
She observed that because it was not appropriate for the would-be wives to disclose the support they had offered their would-be husbands, the society did not appreciate the contribution the would-be wives had offered.
The participants also said Affirmative Action Legislation was not intended to rival men for positions but for women to be positioned to influence decision-making process.
They called for encouragement and support for women who wanted to aspire to key positions such as Member of Parliament, Presidency, Vice president or any other leadership position that would enable them to contribute meaningfully towards the country's socio-economic development.
Nana Kofi Abunah V, chief of Essipon, who is a woman, suggested that teenage boy who would impregnate teenage girl should be arrested to serve as a deterrent to others who impregnate young girls without taking proper care of them.
The participants called for opening of more girls’ second cycle schools across the country since there are more girls pursuing education to get more girls educated.
They also suggested the setting up of national house of queen mothers’ for them to meet and contribute their quota towards the development of the nation.
Mrs. Elizabeth Akpalu, Executive Director for Advocates for Gender Equity, dilating on the topic; “Why the need for an Affirmative Action Legislation to address social, economic and educational imbalances in Ghana”, said in 1998, the then government put in place an Affirmative Action Policy guideline.
She said that policy called for at least 40% representation of women appointed to the public service, committees, boards, among others.
However, over the years, successive governments had not done much about that policy to achieve gender balance and the government had not been held accountable to that commitment.
Mrs Akpalu indicated that, a clear approach adopted by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) and its partners had been to support and encourage more women both at the local and national levels to compete for high-level political or elective positions to ensure that women are elected to key decision-making positions.
She said the draft Affirmative Action Bill when passed into law would benefit the society and ensure an accelerated national development.
“It will also optimize national human resource, expertise and capabilities as well as address specific cause of discrimination against both men and women”, she stressed.
Mrs. Akpalu urged all well-meaning Ghanaians to support and contribute their quota towards the draft Affirmative Action Bill in order to have holistic law that would propel the socio-economic development of the country to a higher pedestal.
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