By Adoba Echono, Abuja*
A Gambian Lawmaker, Fatmata Njai says the ECOWAS Parliament can achieve 30 per cent representation of women in parliament only if it rejects nominations from countries not meeting the criteria.
The lawmaker who is also a member of the ECOWAS Parliament stated this while speaking with journalists during the 5th Legislature’s Delocalised meeting holding in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, with the theme, “Empowerment of Women in the ECOWAS Region.”
Njai said it was pertinent to note that some countries lacked female representation in the Conference of Bureau in the ECOWAS Parliament; a trend which she said was in disregard “of the ECOWAS Rules of Procedures.
“The Rules of Procedures mentioned that each member country should have a female representation at the Conference of Bureau.”
“Each country has three members in the Conference of Bureau, so, each country can at least have one female member which will be thirty per cent representation.”
“I think if we are to preach something, we should be seen acting what we preach.
“We can ask countries to send 30 per cent and we must enforce that as well. But if countries say that they do not have 30 per cent, what is stopping them from having 30 per cent?
“It is not that they do not have females in these countries, they have them and they have competent women as well, but why are they not winning elections?
“I think that is the question,” Njai said.
She said; “When I first joined the ECOWAS Parliament, we were 25 women in number, we have lost some of the women and I think now we are 18 in number which is something that should be addressed.
“Why are women losing elections, and why are countries not sending the 30 per cent as stipulated and is required from them by ECOWAS?”
The Gambian lawmaker urged countries in the region to create a level-playing field for all genders in order to be able to address the question of why women are not winning elections.