Regional speakers to form women’s forum: Nunu

Regional speakers to form women’s forum: Nunu
An undated picture of RTNLA Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba addressing a function in a past event. [File Photo]

The female parliamentarians from Eastern and Southern Africa will establish a women’s forum to promote the gender bridge and the gender parity gaps in leadership positions.

Jemma Nunu Kumba, the National Assembly Speaker, said female lawmakers agreed to establish the body to share ideas on gender issues.

The remarks came during the commemoration of her first anniversary as speaker of Parliament on Saturday in Juba.

The occasion was attended by Vice President for Gender, Youths Affairs Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng, members of RTNLA, government officials, Zambian first deputy speaker, Malunggo Chisangona, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Anita Among,  deputy speaker of Malawi, among other dignitaries. 

“This celebration will not be complete without declaring our dream and my dream of an East Africa Women Speaker’s forum. The forum is open and ready to discuss and prioritize women’s issues in the region,” Nunu said.

“Membership of the forum will comprise female speakers and deputy speakers in Eastern and Southern Africa,” she added.

Nunu said the organ would work as a tool for dialogue, and cooperation and provide women with the highest decision-making in a parliament with a regular platform to exchange ideas and experiences on gender issues and regional aspirations. 

“The forum will identify new and concrete strategies to speed up the process of achieving gender equality under sustainable development goals and to make society more inclusive,” she said.

She mentioned that the forum would focus on addressing the factors that prevent women from getting top leadership positions in the region and South Sudan in particular.

“Due to various historical socio-cultural factors, it has always been a difficult task for the South Sudanese woman to climb a leadership string and the forum would help here,” she said.

Chisangona appreciated President Salva Kiir for giving most of the top leadership positions to women.

“Thank the president for creating an environment that gave women the chance to lead top offices,” Malunggo said.

Nunu urged the region to support South Sudanese women.

“The women of South Sudan still need a lot of support to attain full emancipation. Therefore, we women of the South are still in dire need of support from out there,” she said.

“In this regard, the best and most desirable location we look into supporting is our immediate neighbour—East Africa and the Southern Africa region—and that is why I am very grateful for their present today,” she added.

She added that South Sudan would host the next East Africa parliamentary games. Nunu defended her record, saying she had always advocated for affirmative action to benefit women.

 “As the first female speaker since I took office, I have a very keen interest in the issue of gender mainstreaming within the parliament. I have to ensure that 35% of the women at the level of parliament was achieved, we are now over 10 women who are heading specialised committees in the leadership of the parliament,’’ she said.