51% Coalition Congratulates MPs, Seeks Greater Gender Balance In Leadership


Here’s a statement from the 51% Coalition: Women in Partnership for Empowerment and Development, following general elections. Women certainly showed a higher profile during the election campaign, both as candidates and as commentators in the traditional and social media. I look forward to their energetic participation in the new administration. 

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The 51% Coalition would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the elected Members of Parliament (MPs) on their victory in the recently held general elections.

We take note of and welcome the modest increase in the number of women who have been elected to Parliament. The recently held election has seen an increase in the number of women from 13 per cent to 17 per cent who will sit in the House of Representatives. We find it interesting that 17 per cent (26/152) of persons who contested the election were women and 17 per cent (11/63) are now to be sworn in as MPs. This represents a move in the right direction for balanced representation at the highest level.

In light of the fact that both the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party have embraced the National Policy for Gender Equality (NPGE), the 51% Coalition fully expects that commitment to be demonstrated in the selections for the Senate. We expect to see both the incoming government and Opposition putting words into action, by appointing a minimum of eight women (8/21) to the Senate. Such a move would meet the minimum 30 per cent commitment affirmed in the NPGE.

The 51% Coalition has been calling for Temporary Special Measures to ensure that no less than 40 per cent or no more than 60 per cent of either sex be represented in the leadership of the country.

Prime Minister Designate Mr. Andrew Holness was quoted in January as saying that “we do try to ensure that whatever we do, there is a gender balance” (Jamaica Gleaner, January 22, 2016, p. A2). The 51% Coalition expects to see this reflected in upcoming appointments to the Executive and to Boards of public bodies.

For our part, the 51% Coalition looks forward to continuing the conversations which started from 2014 with women in Parliament to share views on how the practical and strategic interests of women can be more effectively addressed.

For further information, please contact Nikeisha Sewell Lewis at 929-8873.

Endorsed by the following members of the Coalition:

Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus

Carol Narcisse

Marcia Forbes

Emma Lewis

Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre

Judith Wedderburn

Sharene McKenzie

WMW Jamaica

Young Women’s Leadership Initiative

WE-Change

Institute for Gender and Development Studies

Members of the 51% Coalition met with the Organization of American States' Gender Specialist Sebastian Molano during the general elections last week to discuss strategies for improving women's participation in government. (My photo)
Members of the 51% Coalition met with the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Gender Specialist Sebastian Molano during the general elections last week to share thoughts on increasing women’s participation in government. The OAS Preliminary Report on the elections is posted on my blog. (My photo)

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