During a spirited parliamentary debate, Dome Kwabenya MP Sara Adwoa Safo challenged the gender bias in the language of the National Pledge. She advocated the inclusion of “foremothers” alongside “forefathers” to recognise women’s significant contributions to the nation’s history.
This discussion arose as part of Parliament’s adoption of new Standing Orders, which mandate the recitation of the national pledge at the outset of each parliamentary session. The objective behind this initiative is to foster patriotism and unity among chamber members.
Former Minister for Gender, Women and Children, Adwoa Safo, voiced her dissatisfaction with the term “forefathers,” deeming it gender insensitive for failing to adequately acknowledge women’s contributions to the country’s development throughout history.
In response to her concerns, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin highlighted that the wording of the pledge is constitutionally entrenched, potentially necessitating a constitutional amendment for any alterations.
Significant changes introduced in the new Standing Orders include the establishment of Economic Planning Committees derived from the Finance Committee. Additionally, MPs will now have their attendance recorded by the Speaker at the start of each parliamentary session.
However, some MPs have raised concerns regarding the practical implications of the new attendance system. Wa West MP, Peter Toobu, questioned the possibility of being marked absent in plenary sessions despite being present at committee meetings.
Speaker Bagbin assured MPs that the roll call was essential for meeting minimum attendance requirements but suggested the future implementation of an electronic clocking system to streamline the process.