Shorter urges greater representation for women in politics

British Amabssador to Lebanon, Hugo Shorter, hailed Lebanese women seeking to take up a political role, in a speech addressing successful women from all walks of life, who are making an impact in their field, motivating and inspiring people around them.

In the speech which Shorter delivered at a reception he hosted on the theme of ‘Women in Politics’, he noted the importance of women seeking to take up a bigger role in Lebanese political life just as much as they are excelling in other fields.

Ambassador Shorter said: ‘Almost 18 months into my time in Lebanon, I continue to be amazed by the way politics seems to be a different world as far as women’s participation goes. There are so many women leading the way in business, civil society, journalism and more, and yet in politics they are notably absent. No society can reach its full potential when half the population is not able to participate fully in public life. And tonight, what we mean by this is women in government, and women in parliament.’

In a press release by the British Embassy in Beirut, it said: “Ambassador Shorter urged Lebanese political parties and politicians to include women on their lists, welcoming Speaker Berri and PM Hariri’s official declarations of support for women’s quota.”

He said: ‘Politicians and parties are the ones who have the power – and the responsibility – to put women on their lists, quota or no quota. Because a quota on seats is one powerful way to improve women’s representation, but it is not the only way. And quota or no quota, I hope that we will see more women in the next Parliament and the next Cabinet – including, who knows, women in this room this evening’.

Concluding his speech Ambassador Shorter said: ‘With the deadline to declare elections fast approaching, the British Embassy is ready to support women trying to enter politics – without picking sides in the political debate, or between political parties – to overcome the many and real obstacles that they face. Some of the ways we will do this is by pairing with the National Democratic Institute to offer skills training for candidates; another is through our support to Women in Front”.

In her speech, Ms Nada Anid – Co-Founder of Women in Front- spoke about the upcoming parliamentary elections and the need for strong advocacy and lobbying to convince parliament to vote for a women’s quota, hoping to see at least 30% of women MP’s in the next parliament.

Ms Anid said: ‘How can voters trust the ability of women in dealing with national issues if they don’t see and hear them debating about their related problems? Following this question, we embarked into creating Women in Front with the sole purpose of reinforcing the role of women in public and political life.
Now that elections are at our doorsteps, with the opportunity to witness if the so long awaited change would really occur, we need more than ever, to give Lebanese women a platform where the public would be able to know about their different skills and expertise. And most of all, we need strong advocacy and lobbying to convince Parliament to vote for women’s quota in the new electoral law. This is exactly why Women in Front, with the support of the British Embassy, launched the initiative “Women Do Politics”. ”Aam nehké syessé”.’