KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has expressed concern that many countries have ratified international instruments for women inclusion and only kept them on paper.
Kadaga says such international protocols are supposed to be operationalized and domesticated and not simply kept on the shelf.
She was on Monday speaking at the opening of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference at Munyonyo in Kampala.
Debating under the topic ‘Empowering Women as Effective Legislators in the 21st Century’, Ms Kadaga told the audience that during plenary sessions, she gives priority to women MPs.
“This is geared at inculcating confidence and expertise among them. Secondly, 40% of committee chairpersons and vice-chairpersons must be women,” he added.
“There are jurisdictions where we still have a lot of inequality, no women representation in some parliaments, including in the Commonwealth. There are jurisdictions where we still have unequal pay for the same work,” she said.
The Speaker advised Parliaments from the Commonwealth to co-opt male support to increase their chances in legislating for women.
“We should recruit men to understand and support us in this campaign so that we can get there. Sometimes we need to make laws and we need numbers,” Ms Kadaga said.
She said the conference presented an opportunity “to work to break the barriers and ensure that people understand our mission and help us to energise it.”
However, Ms Kadaga noted that many countries have ratified international covenants for women inclusion but they are not implemented.
Ms Emilia Monjowa, the chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, lauded members for focussing on an emancipated political system.
“Most of our parliaments have increased the number of women participating in different parliamentary and legislative roles. The figures are not yet what we want but we still strive to ensure that they increase each parliamentary year,” Ms Monjowa, who is also the Deputy Speaker of Cameroon, said.
“The position which I and many other women hold within the CPA speaks volumes and is an indication that a solid foundation was laid in 1989 and that our men are understanding and are ready to accompany us,” she added.
This year’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference is held under the theme “Adaption, Engagement and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth,”