VETERAN politicians are pushing for more female faces in the lawmaking chamber, insisting that threats and vitriolic abuse during the election process should not be a reason for women’s downfall in the next general election.
The fresh advice was issued here yesterday by retired National Assembly Speaker, Mama Anne Makinda, the first president of the Pan-African Parliament, Mama Gertrude Mongella, and the first female district commissioner, Mama Anna Margareth Abdallah.
The trio had attended the launch of the International Women’s Day commemoration and the reflection of 25 years since the Beijing Women summit in 1995.
Launching the event, Mama Makinda who had served parliament for 40 years as a lawmaker, said: “I am not satisfied with the progress made 25 years after the summit.”
She was concerned that despite efforts by both the government and stakeholders, only 6 per cent of women lawmakers were elected.
“There is this favor, I hate to say, which has helped to increase the ration, now there is at least 30 per cent of female MPs in the lawmaking body,” she said.
The veterans urged competent women to come out of their shells and vie for various positions in the forthcoming general election.
The politician believes that women who form 51 per cent of the country’s population should have at least 20 per cent of elected MPs.
Apparently a culture of intimidation, threats and abuse is discouraging more women from taking part in scouting for a political position.
“We all must be ready to win, not lose,” added Mama Abdallah who has served in various capacities as a lawmaker and minister.
The former president of the Pan-African Parliament, Mama Mongella on her part said that she had established an African network that will offer one powerful voice of women across the continent.
The former politicians explained that the new platform will bring together women across all race, regardless of their political, social and economic backgrounds.
“Women must re-elect or vote for competent and strong female candidates that will champion the gender equality agenda and promote sustainable development,” she said.
Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children added that the government has been implementing a series of policies, rules and regulations seeking to advance the rights of women and children in the country.
The Minister explained that this year’s international women day will help reflect the direction of the country towards sustainable development.
United Nation’s Women agency UN-Women Country Representative, Hodan Addou lauded the government’s efforts and commitment towards promoting gender equality ahead of the global sustainable development goals.
She reiterated the UN’s commitment towards supporting government initiatives that seek to free women and children from any forms of violence at home, community or school.
On her part, the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako noted that her ministry has been working towards increasing the number of female children’s access to quality education, but unfortunately their participation in science, engineering, technology and mathematics remains very low compared to boys.