PNP Women’s Movement pushing for gender parity
THE women of the People’s National Party (PNP) are embarking on the ambitious task of achieving gender parity within that organisation, pledging that at least 50 per cent of them should be represented in all areas of leadership.
On Sunday members of the PNP Women’s Movement, during the private session of their 50th Anniversary Annual Conference at Cedar Grove Academy in Portmore, St Catherine, passed a resolution for this new arrangement to be put in place.
“Time come; things are different. You are looking at a new set of women…We are leaders; we nah tek up space in the PNP. We are taking our rightful place…that means that in every leadership committee, in every leadership space, there must be 50 per cent women,” said president of the movement Patricia Duncan Sutherland to vuvuzela blowing and loud cheers.
“We want to change the gender construct and we are going to create a new Jamaica that allows for gender parity — and you cannot get gender parity unless you redefine the role, and the redefinition starts today with the PNP Women’s Movement,” she said, again to loud cheers from the mostly female audience.
Duncan Sutherland said the ambition of the movement is to make sure the PNP becomes the leader in the Caribbean for putting women at the forefront of changing lives, showing through action — not words — that women are important and effective, and that the men in the party are willing to work to create a new power dynamic of one man to one woman.
In her presentation in the conference programme booklet Duncan Sutherland shared that the movement has been advocating strongly for gender parity in political representation within the party this year, noting that women currently represent 32 per cent of the leadership within the party at the officer, executive and parliamentary levels.
“We note that women only applied for 14 of 63 seats. We met with our party leader about a paper prepared some years ago by the movement which identified the stoppers for women in leadership within our party. It was agreed that we would formulate an action plan for presentation to the leader for agreement and implementation,” her message read.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023, gender gaps in political leadership continue to persist.
“Although there has been an increase in the number of women holding political decision-making posts worldwide, achieving gender parity remains a distant goal, and regional disparities are significant,” the report read.
The report revealed a recent positive trend observed for the share of women in parliaments. It said that in 2013 only 18.7 per cent of Parliament members globally were women, among the 76 countries with consistent data. By 2022 this number had risen steadily to 22.9 per cent.
“Significant strides have also been made in terms of women’s representation in local government globally. Out of the 117 countries with available data since 2017, 18 countries, including Bolivia (50.4 per cent), India (44.4 per cent) and France (42.3 per cent), have achieved representation of women of over 40% in local governance,” the report said.
The report shows, however, that at the current rate of progress over the 2006 to 2023 span it will take 162 years to close the political empowerment gender gap, 169 years for the economic participation and opportunity gender gap, and 16 years for the educational attainment gender gap. The time to close the health and survival gender gap remains undefined.
This is based on the Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks for gender parity across 146 countries.