Historic sitting of first all-female Parliament on February 21

THE historic sitting of the first all-female Parliament, involving women aged 18 to 25 will be held at Gordon House on February 21.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange made the announcement on the motion of adjournment during the sitting of the House of Representatives on February 14.

“All 63 constituencies will be represented. And I want to thank my colleagues for responding to the letters that I have written to them, asking them to recommend a young person to sit in parliament,” Grange said.

She indicated that the young women will be performing all the duties that are involved in the sitting of Parliament.

“The prime minister, in fact, is represented in the presence of a young lady who was recommended by a member from the Opposition,” Grange pointed out.

She said international organisation ParlAmericas conducted preparatory workshops for the participants and facilitated the process through which they were selected and the duties they will perform during the sitting determined.

ParlAmericas, which is headquartered in Ontario, Canada, promotes parliamentary diplomacy in the InterAmerican system.

It mainstreams gender equality by advocating for women’s political empowerment and the application of a gender lens in legislative work.

Its membership, of which Jamaica is a part, comprises 35 national legislatures from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Grange said the participants are very energetic young women, “and they have said to me that they plan to make it a lively sitting [and] also [set] an example for us the older Members of Parliament to follow”.

The Minister encouraged members of both Houses of Parliament to attend and support the young women.

“Each of us in the Chamber is a role model to each and every one of them. We selected them to be us in this sitting and I think it is important to encourage them. Some are university students, community leaders, young professionals, and they all are very focused on what they want to achieve in the future and what they want to see Jamaica become,” Grange said.

She thanked ParlAmericas, UN Women and the Spotlight Initiative for providing the necessary support “to make these things happen”.