In Belize’s 3rd and 4th Periodic Report CEDAW warns that Belize has to do whatever it takes to fast track women’s political leadership. Currently, there are no women in Parliament.
The National Women’s Commission in its 2008-2010 Work Plan decided to make the Women in Politics Project a priority in order to raise women’s representation at all levels of our political system. Funded by UNIFEM, today UN Women, the inaugural Cohort which was officially launched on October 22, 2009 accepted 53 women via a public call in the press. 47 of the 53 graduated after 13 weeks of training in issues germane to politics and national development. Guest Speaker for the occasion was Dame Billie Miller, former Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados who lauded the event as one she has not seen before and would like to export it to her island-nation, Barbados.
The course is executed at a very high level with local and international experts presenting topics such as; International Conventions and instruments Belize signed onto–CEDAW, CRC, the Beijing Platform for Action, Belem do Parra, Parliamentary Procedures, The Constitution, The Representation of the People’s Act-Voter Education, Dissecting the National Budget, Gender Budgeting 101, How to Run a Successful Campaign, Public Speaking, The Revised National Gender Policy (Sit An),The National Policy on Local Governance 2009,Transformational Leadership along with practical experiences shared by former women politicians…
The programme prepares and socializes women from across the political divide who are interested to one day stand for elections. Of the inaugural cohort five women have gone on to contest Village Council elections in 2010. Successful were three councilors and one chairlady.
Application forms for cohort 11 will soon be available.