Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
THE PEOPLE'S National Party's (PNP) Women's Movement will today make another attempt to convince delegates of the parent party to institute a system which, among other things, proposes that a certain number of parliamentary and councillor seats be reserved for females.
Member of parliament for South East St Ann and chairman of the party's Region One, Lisa Hanna, told a Gleaner Editors' Forum on Thursday that a resolution was expected to be tabled at today's private session of the party's 75th annual conference.
"The Women's Movement has a resolution on the table to support quotas, and if given the opportunity, I will support it," said Hanna.
It is the second time that an attempt is being made to impose a quota system in the party.
Hanna said she was of the view that buffers were needed in the male-dominated political culture.
"You are going to have to create quotas to bring women in," she said. "You are going to have other mechanisms to protect them when they come in, until you can change the culture."
Hanna noted that children, partners and spouses of politicians were subject to abuses, and many of the criticisms were not played out in the boardroom, but on the front pages of newspapers or on the Internet.
But at least one of the five female members of parliament who represent the PNP has indicated she will not be supporting the resolution for the implementation of quota system.
WOULDN'T GUARANTEE QUALITY
North Central St Catherine Natalie Neita-Headley argued that a quota system would not guarantee candidates of the highest quality.
Neita-Headley said while she entered a system in which female leadership was not initially perceived to be possible, females had actually succeeded in breaking the traditional barrier.
"Coming from a place where we were not allowed to vote to the point in the PNP where the leader of that party is a female and the prime minister of Jamaica symbolises, for all of us as women, that the sky is the limit, certainly in the political process," she asserted.
She, however, conceded that politics remained a hard choice for women, particularly those with families.
Neita-Headley said women continue to grapple with issues in relation to choosing career paths as politics demands great sacrifice.
"It's about wanting to be the good wife and mother and being a good family person," said Neita Headley. "It is also a difficult process because women tend not to attract the same kind of financing."
Neita-Headley said female politicians also faced challenges in the political parties.
"We have to look at how it is that our own parties select candidates in winnable seats," she said.
"So while the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) had quite a number of candidates in the last election and on their platforms, many of these female candidates were placed in impossible seats," she said.