Reserve 30% of party list for women | Daily News


 

Women Parliamentarians request Party Leaders :

Reserve 30% of party list for women

Women Parliamentarians on Thursday collectively requested all Party Leaders to give nominations to more women at the upcoming General Elections in a bid to increase female representation in the next Parliament.

The women MPs convening a press conference at a Committee Room in Parliament stressed that they make this request in unity keeping aside their political party differences.

UPFA MPs Sumedha G. Jayasena (Monaragala), Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle (Gampaha), Sriyani Wijewickrama (Digamadulla), and UNP MPs Vijayakala Maheswaran (Jaffna), Hirunika Premachandra (Colombo), Dr. Thusitha Wijemanna (Kegalle) and Rohini Kumari Wijerathna (Matale) participated in the press conference.

They observed that it would most probably be their last day in the current Parliament as speculation was rife that Parliament would be dissolved early next month.

The current Parliament comprises 12 female MPs and as a percentage this is 5.3 percent. This figure, they pointed out, was the second lowest in the Asian region after the Maldives.

They requested the Party Leaders to consider accommodating about 30 percent space for women in the nomination lists for each district, and consider 50 percent reservation for women from the National List.

“All the 12 female MPs, who represent Parliament today, are learned professionals. There is no allegation of corruption or fraud against any of them. However, we have a long way to go to achieve due recognition, respect and value for women in politics. Often female MPs are overlooked when giving positions,” said MP Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle.

MP Rohini Kumari pointed out that there is a tendency among women of not wanting to vote for women. “We humbly request all women to use at least one of their three preference votes to a woman in their respective district. This vote is for the future of the country. We need to elect at least one female MP from each district. The females do not engage in distributing freebies or alcohol during the election campaigns. They act according to their Conscience. Consider them when you vote. Fifty two percent of Sri Lankan population is women and 56 percent of total voters are women. Within the first two weeks of this year, there had been 142 rape cases, 42 serious sexual abuses, and 54 child abuses according to the reports. We have raised these matters again and again, but our voice is not loud enough,” she added.

MP Sriyani Wijewickrama pointed out that contesting under the existing electoral system is a challenge for women. “When the legislation to allocate a quota for women at the Local Government bodies was taken up, I underlined that what is more important is making the background favourable for women to win the elections in local and national levels. Legislation alone is not enough,” she explained.

MP Dr Thusitha Wijemanna pointed out that the female MPs have taken the initiative at the Sectoral Oversight Committees over the past four and half years to make progressive legislation pertaining to women, children and education.

MP Hirunika Premachandra requested the media and the public at large to question and challenge the women MPs of their policies, without focusing only on their personal lives.

She also said that she presented a private member’s motion to have “feeding rooms” in all public institutions for the convenience of breastfeeding mothers, but that this was yet to be made a reality.

 


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