The Ambassador of Switzerland to Ghana Philipp Stalder has called for collaborative efforts in promoting women’s rights across the globe. Speaking at the movie screening of ‘The Divine Order’ a comedy on the fight of
Swiss women for their right to vote in 1971, the Ambassador challenged participants to work assiduously in championing women’s rights in line with the Geneva human Rights declaration of 1948 which frowns on inequality based on gender.
He also urged Africa and Europe to work towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goal five target of ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
The Divine Order, premiered in 2017 and awarded with multiple prizes, portrays a probably quite typical Swiss family in the 60’s and 70’s. «The Divine Order» is the story about Nora, a young housewife and mother, living in a quaint little village with her husband and their two sons.
The Swiss countryside is untouched by the major social upheavals the movement of 1968 has brought about. Nora’s life is not affected either; she is a quiet person who is liked by everybody – until she starts to publicly fight for the Swiss women’s right to vote. The filmmaker Petra Volpe tells a story of suppression, domestic violence and also economic exclusion with regards to women.
Switzerland in Western Europe just like Ghana in Western Africa is a role model for democracy and stability. And just like Switzerland, Ghana lags behind other countries in terms of the gendered aspects of governance. Currently, 13% of Ghanaian parliamentarians are women – the highest number of women in parliament since 1960.
The special guest of Honor at the movie screening of the ‘Divine Order’ was the retired judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also the Chairperson of the Affirmative Action Legislative Committee Prof Akua Kuenyehia who helped with the discussion after the screening. She touched on the representation of women in Parliament, saying “it did not make sense for a nation with 51.2 percent female population to have only 38 women legislators in a 275-member parliament, while women constituted only 5.2 percent of assembly members at the district level.”
She called for stronger political will and cooperation from the political and bureaucratic classes toward its passage since the bill had been on the backburner for far too long. The Affirmative Action advocacy seeks to ensure quota representation of women in public life, leadership and decision-making positions and provide an avenue for women to have equal opportunities in the governance structure.
The bill, drafted in 2013, is designed to give women and other minority groups in the country a voice and has been in and out of parliament for more than five occasions in the past six years. The screening of the movie brought together some heads of the diplomatic community, friends of the embassy and some invited guests.