Women meet to discuss Gender and Politics

vlcsnap-2013-02-11-20h03m33s27Women met to strategize over gender and politics today. After last March’s general and municipal elections, the Organization of American States (OAS), which had observed the process, had many nice things to say.
But one thing they did not like was the lack of women participating – just 3 candidates of 74 in the general election and a similar number in the municipal election were women. Earlier this year a report was issued and efforts are now being stepped up to have more women involved in the process. The latest training on gender sensitivity in politics was opened today for participants from municipal bodies, government agencies such as Election and Boundaries and other interested parties. WIN-Belize Director Carolyn Reynolds outlines some of the plans for the four-day training .

Carolyn Reynolds – WIN-Belize Director:
The training is part of a bigger project that we are doing, Strengthening Women’s Representation in National Leadership in Belize.  In doing that we’re also looking at the agenda and dimentions of it. We have participants here from the different councils, village, city, town coiuncils.  We also have representations from the Civil Society, and we should have someone from the University of Belize.  The purpose of this training is to build the capacity, and so we’ll be looking the electorial process, and even in Belize how we can some of the special measures that Belize has agreed to do when we look at the SEDAR, the Convention, and in relation to all forms of discrimination against women.

And according to Reynolds, a lack of motivation is not the only reason women are not getting into politics. She outlines what has to be done to turn things around:

Carolyn Reynolds – WIN-Belize Director:
vlcsnap-2013-02-11-20h03m48s189I guess you’ll agree with me when we say that other people always see politics as dirty. And in a forum that we had last year in October, we looked at what were some of the barriers that affect women from participating in leadership, and one of the things is the support, if we don’t get the support of men, and the support of our families.  And that’s some of the barriers that women face, also because of having that family responsibility, that’s also one of the drawbacks from keeping women to get into politics.  But hopefully, that why we are seeing how we can get more women to participate, again with the support of the population of men, and of more looking at young people as well. There are young prople who would like to participate.

Reynolds tells what will happen next:

Carolyn Reynolds – WIN-Belize Director:
There’ll be follow-up activities, because one of the things we want to do is really seeing how we can change the mindset of Belizeans in looking at wgat would be the benefits for women to be in that position. How can we get women to advocate for things that affect women and children in Belize?  Because as you know there always say “Teach a woman, and you teach a nation.” So that’s what we’re looking at, to see how we can improve, again in partnership with the men, to see how we can get men on board as well, to help us advocate for this to be a reality for us here in Belize, that we can be more in line with the other countries.

The training is being sponsored by UN Women and UNDP.

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