The former President of Cape Verde and member of Madrid Club, Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro, yesterday met with different political parties executives, female parliamentarians and women’s groups at the British Council to discuss the way forward for women’s participation in politics.
Addressing them Mr Monteiro outlined key challenges to the national character of women in politics.
He encouraged women to be involved at various levels in political parties’ structures and also challenged the readiness of women to be engaged and ready to take the task of political parties seriously.
Mr Monteiro maintained that political parties must create equality of opportunities between women and men, adding that they (political parties) must give women chance to contest for executive positions.
Former Ugandan minister of Ethics and Integrity and former member of the pan-African Parliament, Hon. Dr Miria Matembe, stated that the Madrid club “is made up of people who have been head of states, prime ministers among others to support women’s participation in governance.”
She noted that one of the programmes that the Madrid club had was to strengthen women’s in political participation in Africa, adding that that had been clearly understood by the Africa Union (AU) which believes that without tapping on women’s wisdom, courage and protection Africa couldnot move forward.
Dr Matembe pointed out that, “that is why the AU has put the principle of gender parity and their commissioners are 50% men and 50% women and that principle has gone down to other positions in the commission”.
The former Pan African Parliamentarian revealed that, the AU had come out with protocols on human rights of the African Chapter, noting that this protocol covered the rights of women in Africa.
She disclosed that one of those priority rights was participation of women in politics and governance and also that part five of the MDGs talked about the empowerment of women.
She noted that the rights of women were seriously abused, adding that although women did work they were not assisted to do it better.
Dr Matembe said it was for this reason that they met with the political parties’ heads because “the political parties are the gateway through which women will enter into leadership positions.”
Alice Foya of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and Marie Yasanneh of the All People’s Congress, both members of parliament, noted that because of finance women were left behind.
They urged all women to come together and break the gap between them and their male counterparts.
Valnora Edwin of Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) said the purpose of the meeting was to meet with party executive and women parliamentarians to discuss the challenges and mechanisms that would create a level playing ground for women to participate in politics.
UNS Jah of the SLPP outlined the plans and structures they had put in place for women.
By Abibatu Kamara