UAE women MPs urged to be ‘voice of the voiceless’


“Women elected to the parliament must realise that they are the winds of change. They have to make the debate more focused on issues of concern to the entire national,” suggested Margaret Mensah Williams, Deputy Speaker of the National Council at the Republic of Namibia.

While speaking to Khaleej Times, Margaret, who is also an expert at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said, “Women MPs have to be the voice of the voiceless. They must build a relationship of trust with the public to make their presence felt in parliament.”

She said women must strive for more numbers and positions in parliament and decision-making positions. “Women must have the right to vote. We want equal share as Speaker or Deputy Speakers. We want to be part of levels of decision-making positions.” Margaret said another important element for women MPs to make a difference was to ensure healthy and conducive environment that facilitates women’s input in the institution of the parliament itself.

“The parliament as an institution ought to be woman-friendly. Not only the facility but the procedures themselves and working methods and hours need to take into account the obligations and needs of both men and women,” she said.

She underlined that when women make it to parliament, they are often faced with an environment that has been set up by men, with specific rules and procedures. “This environment is not always open to change. Women must not only know these rules but also master them and use them to effect a change,” Margaret said.


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