The foremost difficulty is not bringing women to the world of politics but maintaining women in this arena. Government is thus fully committed to encouraging women to affirm their significant roles in governance institutions, participating equally with men in public dialogue and influencing decision-making at all levels.
The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs. Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus, made this statement yesterday at the opening of a dialogue on Promoting Women's participation in Politics by the Consultant in International Governance, Dr Lex Paulson, at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, Port Louis. The Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands, Mrs. Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, the Chargé D'Affaires of the United States (US) Embassy, Dr Melanie Zimmerman, and other eminent personalities were present.
Minister Jadoo-Jaunbocus underlined that the Constitution of the Republic of Mauritius upholds the fundamental rights of each and every citizen, regardless of his or her gender, to contribute equally in socio-economic development of the country. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women spells out the right of women to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, she underpinned.
The Minister pointed out that amendments have been made to the Local Government Act to make more space for women in politics. The Act stipulates that "at least 1 of the 3 candidates to be fielded for the local elections should be of the opposite sex". However, she grieved that women are still under-represented in the parliament and continuous efforts should be done to address persistent disparities in the political sphere to attain gender equality.
She also highlighted that women in politics through their dedication, love for their country and political talent have emerged as sources of inspiration for many generations. In Rwanda and Liberia, she pointed out, women parliamentarians account for more than 50% and are engaged in pushing for legislations and measures favourable to women's economic empowerment and their combat against domestic violence.
On this score, Minister Jadoo-Jaunbocus called for the transformation of politics whereby women would be required to better engage in parliamentary, societal and economic domains. She insisted that women should be treated according to their merits and that they should brave challenges to do away with any kind of discrimination and stereotypes.
For her part, the Chargé D'Affaires of the United States Embassy, Dr Melanie Zimmerman, highlighted the importance of capacity building programmes for women acceding to the sphere of politics. Mauritius, as a democratic country, should be more engaged in ensuring the rightful place of women both in politics and civil societies. She called upon the women to becoming agents of the change that they wish for in the future and not to remain a silent observer to the cross-cutting issues of the society.
The Consultant, Professor Lex Paulson, spoke of the various aspects of Advocacy Strategy vital for the evolution of women in a democratic world during the dialogue, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare and of the US Embassy. He will be in Mauritius till 23 June 2018 and will animate various workshops during his stay.