Women’s Forum Sierra Leone, on 23rd May 2012, at the British Council Auditorium, launched a report on the just concluded eighteen days ‘Research Findings and National Survey of Female Aspirants for the 212 General Elections’.
The theme of the survey was ‘National Sensitization and Mapping of Female Aspirants for the 2012 Elections.’ It was conducted across the districts of Sierra Leone including the Urban and Western Rural Districts.
Talking to the Awareness Times on Saturday 26th May 2012, in an exclusive interview, the President of Women’s Forum Sierra Leone, Mrs. Maude R. Peacock, said the main objectives of the research findings and national survey are to sensitize women on the Gender Equality Bill, motivate potential female aspirants to declare their intention to contest the elections, elicit relevant information about aspirants’ perceptions and attitudes on the role of different stakeholders in promoting women’s political participation and most importantly, to assess the depth of their knowledge on related issues.
|Women's Forum President, Mrs. Maude R. Peacock presenting report
Mrs. Peacock maintained that, the process was also aimed at lobbying and advocating for women to be awarded symbols to contest for parliamentary and local council seats in the November 17 polls.
According to her, Women’s Forum has noticed that, most women have the desire to contest for these seats but are very shy to come out and declare their intensions. She cited that prior to the research and survey, the figure for women vying for symbols across the country was 195 but that after the survey, the figure increased to over 250 women, now coming out from various political parties across the country to declare their political intentions. Outlining the outcome of the survey, Mrs. Peacock revealed that, 39 women declared to contest the parliamentary election, 153 for the local election and 3 for the District chairperson election.
She further noted that, most of these aspirants are between the ages of 26 and 45 and that 1/3 of them have attained secondary education, 1/3 tertiary education and 11 with university degrees. However, Mrs. Peacock said the survey also identified finance, culture, elections violence, discrimination against women, political parties not gender sensitive and inadequate commitment from government to gender equality, as some of the external challenges faced by women in politics, whilst lack of interest and time, women not supportive of each other and spousal and family disapproval, being some of the internal challenges faced by these women.
The research findings and national survey called on political parties to award symbols to women on the basis of merit, integrity, honesty, capacity to deliver and track record. It further called on them to review their constitutions and incorporate the 30% Quota and above all, support women and their campaigns.
Additionally, the survey called on communities to support female aspirants, help them to mobilize funds for their campaigns and most importantly, called on traditional authorities to minimize secret society interventions during campaign periods.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.