At a conference held on Wednesday at the Atlantic Hall, Stadium Hostels in Freetown, women urged that their 30% quota be taken into consideration by any of the party that would win the elections.
Past president and founding member of the 50/50 group, Dr Nemata Eshun Baiden, said they were not pleased with the number of female candidates awarded symbols by the various political parties. Out of 574 parliamentary seats only 60 women were awarded party symbols.
The main purpose of the conference, she added, was “for the women to choose the party that will make a better foundation. We should not vote out of sentiment but by our conscience”.
Talking about the quota system, Dr Eshun Baiden stressed that most developed countries had the 30% quota for the women and that this had aided in the development of most of those countries.
She informed the women, who came from all the twelve districts in the country, that the forum was “a follow up on the women’s manifesto which was lunched in March.”
In her statement the chairperson for the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Christiana Thorpe, said though the women were moving at a snail pace they were still making the mark.
Explaining about the electoral process, Dr Christiana Thorpe maintained that they were praying for peaceful elections as they wanted development in the country as the success of the elections depended on the people of the country especially the women.
She further urged all women to come out in their numbers on elections day to vote for who they believe would give them what they wanted.
In her opening remarks Jebbeh Forster of UNIFEM echoed that the women had finally decided to move from the position of talking to action.
She explained that they had been involved in a lot of things including lobbying the president, parliament and other organizations for lot of things and when some of these needs had been granted them, they should be the watch dogs.
Mrs Forster maintained that they had been supporting the men but when they reached at the top they forgot about the women.
“We have now decided to go there ourselves. We are a force to reckon with, but marginalization is the major factor that hinders us from political development,” Mrs Forster said.