The Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women and the Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) is hoping to change the landscape of politics through its Women’s Transformational Political Leadership Skills Training (TTIWiL) course.
The network's trustee and CIWiL board member Hazel Brown said there had been a 36 per cent increase in women's participation in politics from 1946 to 2019.
On the upcoming local government elections, she said, “The presence of women on the councils will make a difference to people, as women are capable of better addressing the needs of the people.”
She was speaking at a distribution of cheques to 15 women from political parties – UNC, PNM, COP and MSJ –who are contesting the December 2 elections.
The cheques, totalling $13,000 were distributed at the network's office on Fitzblackman Drive, Woodbrook.
The network and CIWiL have been involved in such initiatives since 1996 and been working with other Caribbean counries, Brown said.
She said it is not only about women's participation in politics, but rather efficient and effective inclusion that would bring about inclusivity and co-operation.
The CIWiL hosted two-day workshops which began in October. Candidates learned skills in journalling, communicating with the media, governance, local government responsibilities, gender budgeting and gender-sensitive policy-making, campaigning, money and fundraising, voter contact, election day and post-election-day activities.
Brown added that women candidates are at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts.
She said conduct on the political platform is not appealing, and hoped the code of ethical political conduct would be followed.
“The code is the first step in regularising and improving the political and ethical behaviour during campaigning.
“There have been complaints lodged with the council (the Council For Responsible Political Behaviour), but there are no sanctions. We are hopeful there will be legislation soon about the do’s and don’t’s on the campaign stage.”
Brown said there is a greatneed for local government reform, as the people running the show are unaware of their responsibilities.
“They need to bring a certain level of skills and competence to the job. The current system of local government has a lot of possibilities for improvement.
“The people in there are not bad – they just don’t know what they are doing.”