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Nov 24, 2011

Female leaders attend gender participation in politics seminar

And though the earlier stories dealt mainly with vulnerable groups and gender based violence, there are women who, despite hardships, have molded themselves into leaders. And though there aren’t any women in the House of Representatives that may soon change. In the upcoming municipal as well as general elections, a number of women have offered themselves for office, and to help Belize address the marginalization of women.  Earlier today, the Mexican Embassy held a public seminar called “Gender participation in politics: The Mexican experience”. News Five spoke with two facilitators and participants at today’s event.

Juan Carlos Arjona

Professor Juan Carlos Arjona, Consultant for Latin American Faculty for Social Sciences, Mexico

“We want to share how Mexico has been working in the last thirty years more or less in recognition in law of this right to the women but also in the practice; what are the obstacles that Mexican women have been confronting in order to get into the Congress and want to know how does this works in Belize so that we can really contribute to the access of the women, Belizean women to the Congress and to also get some experience on how to improve our system in Mexico.”

Chandra Cansino

Chandra Cansino, Participant

“It’s obvious that we have a very long way to go in Belize. It was very interesting to see the level of inclusion that Mexico has with their women in their country. We are not there yet; I think we’re getting there. We need to start from the basic levels of affirmative actions within the parties themselves and then be able to move up into the area of the judiciary and all of that.”

Professor Marta Subinas, Consultant for Latin American Faculty for Social Sciences, Mexico

Marta Subinas

“There is a distance between the formal right and the relation of the right. And this is connected with the problem of the right of being elected. We have the right of both and the second political right is at this moment a problem because the house of representative in Belize, at this moment there is no women. So one of the resolutions we need to promote is to introduce a formative action, equal opportunities for women to participate in politics. And the third focusing policy for equity is gender mainstreaming. This is related with cultural aspects, cultural discrimination against women to feel the women are not interested in politics; that the role of women are just for childbearing. So we need to work in the long term to change that kind of prejudice ideas related with gender.”

Andrea Polanco

“Can we expect to see maybe a five, ten years from now, a couple women in the house?”

Anne-Marie Williams

Anne-Marie Williams, Participant

“Well ten years is too late, but certainly it will not be in ten years. I must say truthfully, unfortunately it will not happen. There has been a study that’s going on right now where the Women’s Commission is partnering with UNDP to do a situation analysis of women in politics since 1998 to present. And some of the studies that have gone into that situation analysis by Consultant Debora Lewis, she has looked at a number of studies from the region, from the U.S. from the Far East, from the U.K. that shows that of the twenty-six countries where they have upwards of thirty percent of women in politics as far as up to fifty, you have women coming into politics through quotas or what they commission on the representation of women, CIDA, calls temporary special measures. Of the twenty-six countries studied, twenty of the countries have had quotas. And so in order for us to move forward, it is something that we need to consider as a country. So that is what is being discussed and to tell you if we don’t put in some kind of temporary special measures, it will take the next fifty to sixty years before we see at least parity with men in government.”

This event was held as a part of the 2011 Women in Politics Situational Analysis of the United Nations Development Program and the Women’s National Commission.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Female leaders attend gender participation in politics seminar”

  1. EMS says:

    Many appear to forget or simple do not want to acknowledge the fact, that geneder issues were/are almost non-existence in the great People’s United Party. Women were never limited in the PUP, For example we have the late Hon. Gwen Lizaraga who was a trail blazer when it comes to women in politics. Aditionally, we have seen very strong leadership skills from women like the Hon. Jane Usher and many more strong women politicians under the banner of the PUP. Currently, the field is filled with many excellent powrful women politicians in the PUP. Those women who are talking about the current situation with women in politics need to place the blame where it rightfully belongs, and that is with the current leadership of the UDP, who has shown very litttle to no respect for women. The poulace of Belize must not be distracted by these pseudo gender movements depicting women as underdogs in politics in the Jewel. We in the PUP supports and will continue to support very strong and capable women leaders in the Jewel. Vote PUP all the way in upcoming municipal elections and in the not too distant future upcoming general elections. Women should join in shoulder to shoulder with the current leadership of the PUP, who has always shown much respect for women.

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