Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has tasked Commonwealth countries to open up more space for women participation in decision making processes especially in Parliaments.
Kadaga, who doubles as the President designate of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), was on Monday afternoon opening the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference (CWP) on the sidelines of the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference marks 30 years under the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) and the women discussion this year is themed ‘Achievements and Unfinished Business- Looking forward to the next 30 years”.
In her speech, Kadaga said that despite progress made in the increased role of women in governance, many commonwealth jurisdictions are still challenged with inequality, limited women representation, unequal pay for the same work as well as wanting access to opportunities especially in the professions.
Kadaga appealed to the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians to guard against retrogression and come up with strategies for retention of MPs. She cited a situation in Finland where the Commonwealth had recorded success in women representation of 60 percent and suddenly registered drastic loss in the country’s last election.
“Finland used to be one of the countries with the best representation in the world but in the last election they collapsed. We still have to find out why they came from 60 percent to something very low. We need to find out why in that country things changed drastically and for the worse,” added Kadaga.
She cited a need for women to work and break barriers and also ensure that men understand their mission and energize it. She cited a need for women to recruit men to understand and to support them in their campaign especially when they need to make laws and require their numbers.
The Speaker further noted that a number of commonwealth countries have adopted international instruments and covenants but have not been domesticated and that in many instances they have not been implemented. She said that it was the responsibility of parliaments to make sure that the conventions are not only ratified but also domesticated to enable their use.
She said that the Women Parliamentarians were during the conference going to have an opportunity to discuss the many obstacles that make it difficult for them to remain in offices and the challenges they face while in different positions.
Meanwhile, Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Chairperson lauded members of the commonwealth for steering towards an emancipated political system.
Monjowa who is also the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon said that gender mainstreaming remains a clear object of the Commonwealth, and decisions for inclusive participation is a great milestone.
Dr. Dato Noraini, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) appealed to the delegates to actively engage in the discussion of promoting women in senior positions and also empower them as effective legislators. She also emphasized the need to combat bullying and harassment of worm in Parliaments.