Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

The women of Trinidad and Tobago who offered themselves up for political office in the recently concluded 2020 General Election, have come in for high commendation from the Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL).

In an official statement issued today, the regional organisation’s president, Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph, congratulated the new women Members of Parliament on their wins at the polls. She also commended the other women who may not have had success at the polls, for their willingness to offer themselves to serve their country at that level.

The full text of CIWiL’s statement, follows…

RECOGNIZING WOMEN’S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – 12 August, 2020 (TTO): The regional organisation, Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) applauds the eleven (11) women elected as Members of Parliament (MPs) after General Elections in Trinidad and Tobago. CIWiL extends heartfelt congratulations as you enter into a new season of leadership. To the other thirty-four (34) women who were selected as candidates across the nineteen (19) political parties contesting the General Elections, CIWiL commends you on a race well run. We recognise your willingness to serve and dedication to your country.

CIWiL President Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph in congratulating the newly elected women Members of Parliament stated, “It is heartening to see our Trinidad and Tobago sisters rise to the challenge of meaningful participation in representational politics. Given the importance of mainstreaming women’s invaluable experiences to national life and leadership, our sisters must be the role models for all Trinidad and Tobago women and girls. May their collective leadership be distinguished by their meaningful service and contributions”.

This election saw an increase in the number of women candidates, from forty (40) in 2015 to forty-five (45) in 2020. However, this did not translate to an increase in women elected to Parliament in 2020. That figure dropped from twelve (12) women in 2015 to eleven (11) in 2020. This downward trend results in Trinidad and Tobago’s percentage of women elected to Parliament declining from 29% to 26%. This falls below the minimum threshold for leadership and political participation which requires the adoption of a 30% minimum proportion of women in leadership positions, at the national level. By comparison Grenada leads with representation of 46.7% of women in parliament in the region.

Equal representation of women and men in politics and decision-making is a requirement for achieving gender equality. This is essential to true democracy and good governance in political and public life in keeping with Trinidad’s international commitments. CIWiL therefore calls on the newly-formed Government and Opposition; as well as the Office of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to address this deficit and prioritize women’s equal representation in public life.

This can be achieved through the:

■   appointment of women to the Senate in equitable numbers; and

■   selection of women in equal numbers to state all appointments.

Alongside these actions, we call on Government and decision makers to prioritise gender parity, and to adopt gender inclusive/sensitive legislation and policies in all areas of decision making and leadership.

CIWiL supports and will continue to work with aspiring women as they prepare for effective and transformational leadership.