OrderPaperToday– Mrs. Sasey Veronica from Sierra Leone has urged ECOWAS Parliament to support the cause for more women inclusion in governance as the present number of women in ECOWAS Parliament falls short of the 30% agreed in Beijing affirmative action.
She made the call during plenary at the second ordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament currently ongoing in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mrs Sasey, who is the president of the Female Parliamentary Caucus of ECOWAS Parliament, asked the House to take a cue from Cote D’Ivoire where a law has already been passed for 30% of women to be included in the affairs of governance in the country.
“I think ECOWAS Parliament can copy from Sierra Leone by passing a law that would ensure 30% female representation and currently we are also fighting for that in my own country, Sierra Leone, where we are already pushing for 35% women representation and the president of my country is in support of the initiative.
“Until that happens,we would be talking about all the regions cuing into that 30% decision. If we agree on two women per each country, we should have attained the 30%.
“As it stands, I can’t say how many but there are less than 10% female representation in the ECOWAS as it stands. It is only Cape Verde that has two females representatives and Nigeria probably but the rest (countries) has just one each.”
Commenting on the situation back home, the lawmaker added, “My country, initially we had 18 women but presently we are 20 because we have two paramount chiefs, though before now a women couldn’t even hold that position but in the northern part of my country, women are not allowed to partake in politics but we are already advocating for such laws or norms to be abolished and our president is ready to assist us and I can assure that once the affirmative action is passed, we would carry our campaign to the north. We would reach out to the local areas and tell them why women must be given the opportunity to participate.
“We are 146 in the parliament with less than 5% but we are fighting to break the jinx. I also want to inform world that in my own country, the ruling party has a policy where women don’t pay to secure forms for election and I think if other regions adopt this method it would work”, she added.
Earlier, Mrs Traore Adjaratou from Côte D’Ivoire during the presentation of her country’s report on the floor of the House, said a law has been put in place in the country that favours women representation in elected offices.
She stated, “Gender was improved with the adoption by parliament in July 2019 of a law favouring the representation of women in elected assemblies with a quota of 30%.”
Adopting the reports of the three countries that presented on 23 November, 2019, which included Gambia, Côte D’Ivoire and Niger, the Speaker, Mr. Mustapha Cisse, assured that all issues raised in the course of countries’ report would be dealt with at committee level.
He subsequently adjourned plenary to Monday 25 November 2019.