MASERU — Parliaments cannot be considered inclusive until they boast full participation of women, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ntlhoi Motsamai, said on Friday.
“Equality in political decision-making performs a leverage function without which it is highly unlikely that real integration of equality in all other sectors is feasible,” she said.
Motsamai was speaking at the opening of the second meeting of the first session of the seventh parliament.
Motsamai said statistics showed that women representation in parliament and in the national executive committees of political parties was still far below 50 percent.
“This means that we have not reached the target of gender equality in politics. As such, we need to rethink our commitment not only to the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action but also other international bodies as well.”
She said the inclusion of women in political decision-making is not just about equality and participation in the conduct of public affairs but also about using women’s ingenuity, their intellectual and potential to determine and develop priorities that benefit society.
“The platform reaffirms the fundamental principle that the human rights of women are inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights,” Motsamai said.
She said for parliament to meet the needs of the society its composition has to reflect a balanced number of women and men.
The speaker said to be attuned to society, political parties and their governing bodies also have to open up to accommodate women.