De-localized meeting on ICT begins
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has called on Speaker, Deputy Speakers and members of the Fourth Legislature of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament to ensure at least 30 percent of women representation in that body.
She said that ECOWAS Parliament, as the Regional body, should implement Article 18 of the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament, which says: “Each Member-State shall ensure at least 30 percent female representation in their Parliamentary Delegation to the Parliament.”
Madam Taylor wants the ECOWAS Parliament to also devote greater attention to women’s empowerment, and more participation of women in politics as it has been confirmed by demographers that the female population slightly exceeds their male counterpart in our sub-region.
Veep Taylor made the remarks at a resort in Monrovia during the opening session of the De-localized Meeting of the ECOWAS’ Joint Committee on Communications and Information Technology (ICT), Education, Science and Technology, Labor, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture. The meeting will end on Friday, August 31, 2018.
The statement of VP Taylor came against the backdrop of the launch of ECOWAS Gender and Election Strategic Framework, which targets mainstreaming and encourages equal gender representation in politics across all 15-member states.
In order to tackle the low representation of women in politics or elected positions in West Africa, a call was also made for collective effort, to ensure at least 30 per cent female representation in all levels of governments in the sub-region.
In the framework, many believed, particularly those in rural areas are still hampered by socio-cultural and religious practices, inadequate financial resources, volatile political environment, political party discrimination and absence of support from relatives and the media.
“Laws deliberately aimed at improving the plight of women economically and politically must be promoted and passed. The laws must prohibit discrimination against women by political parties and engender their protection against political violence,” the framework said.
Accordingly, the dwindling number of women’s participation in politics has been recorded at seven percent since the 2015 elections. Women have only 6.1 percent representation in State Houses of Assembly, 3.9 per cent in the House of Representatives, 7.34 percent in the Senate, and almost zero percent in the executive arm of government.
In West Africa, Nigeria ranks even lower than Ghana which has as of 2016, about 10.7 percent female representation in the parliament, and 27 percent female as cabinet ministers. Togo comes up second with about 17.60 percent women representation in its national parliament as of 2017, and 18.4 per cent in ministerial positions. Senegal has the highest representation of women in elective positions, ranking 12th in the globe for the number of women in elective position, three percent down from its initial ranking.
Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf also thanked ECOWAS Parliament for inviting her. Madam Sirleaf then called on the parliamentarians to implement the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament, which she believes can promote peace and democracy in the sub-region.
House Speaker Bhofal Chambers said the country is transitioning, and so there will be many other changes, but there must be peace and justice in Liberia.
He argued that for the country to have stable peace, Liberians must apply restorative justice.
ECOWAS Parliament Speaker Moustapha Cisse Lo also thanked Madam Sirleaf for her leadership role played as the President of Authority of ECOWAS Commission, and President George Weah for his election and stay at the ECOWAS Parliament as head of the Liberian delegation.
Amb. Tunde O. Ajisomo, Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission to Liberia, outlined the significance of UNMIL Radio transitioning to ECOWAS Community Radio and Television Station.
Representative Edwin Snowe is the head of the Liberian delegation. Other members are Senator Prince Y. Johnson, 3rd Deputy Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament; Representatives Clarence Massaquoi, Fata Haja Siryon, and Senator Steve Zargo.