Opposition Spokesperson on Gender Affairs Natalie Neita wants female candidates to be installed in more winnable constituencies to increase the number of them in parliament.
She claimed that the two major political organizations – the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party – have been installing male candidates in seats that are easier to win.
“It is the nature of our political culture that our male-led political parties tend to select or appoint a male to run as a candidate in the seats with higher possibility of victory.”
“I am making a call here on both political parties to make the concerted effort in identifying suitably qualified and competent women to stand as candidates in more constituencies with a potential for victory for either parties, so that there will be a significant increase in the number of elected females in this parliament,” Neita said during her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in parliament yesterday, May 5.
She noted that there is a debate over whether a quota should be established to have more women elected to the parliament, but she did not give an opinion on that proposal.
“There has been some debate as to the many merits of quotas and, while that debate continues, what I am prepared to say here without equivocation is that there are not enough female parliamentarians sitting here in this House,” said the member of parliament for St Catherine North Central.
She continued: “I can attest to the fact that the vast majority of our political workers are women. While the representation of women at every level of the political ladder is at least equal to that of our male counterparts, we do not see that translate to the highest levels of representation.”
Neita said an increase in the number of female parliamentarians would be worthwhile. “It is unquestionable that the viability, vibrancy and effectiveness of our parliament, on both sides of the isle, are all the much better for having an increased level of female participation.”
Of the country’s 63 members of parliament, 11 are women – seven from the Jamaica Labour Party and four from the People’s National Party.