Equal representation for women in Parliaments and gender empowerment focus for Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians at 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference 

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network meeting at the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh have focused on the equal representation for women in Parliaments and gender empowerment.

The annual CPA conference hosted the meeting of the CWP Steering Committee chaired by the CWP Chairperson, Hon. Dr Noraini Ahmad, MP (Malaysia) and attended by the CWP President, Hon. Sagufta Yasmin, MP (Bangladesh) and representatives from the CPA Regions: CWP Africa Region – Hon. Thoko Didiza, MP (South Africa); CWP Australia Region – Hon. Jennifer Aitchison, MP (New South Wales); CWP BIM Region – Hon. Samantha Sacramento, MP (Gibraltar); CWP Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region – Hon. Shirley Osborne, MLA (Montserrat); CWP Canada Region – Hon. Yasmin Ratansi, MP (Canada); CWP South East Asia Region – Hon. Datuk Hajah Normala bintj Abdul Samad, MP (Malaysia); and CWP Pacific Region and CWP Vice-Chairperson – Hon. Poto Williams, MP (New Zealand).

At the CWP Business meeting attended by nearly 100 women Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth, the CWP Chairperson presented the CWP Strategic Plan 2017-2019 on gender equality which outlines the work of the CWP.

This was followed by the CWP gender workshop which was held on the topic of: If we want genuine positive change in the world, we need more women leaders. How can we persuade the world that the future is dependent on gender equality? The CWP workshop discussed how a society with greater equality of opportunity is a more economically dynamic society. It was noted that this needs to be more widely known, with more data collection and sharing. Societies benefit from equality of opportunity and the focus should be on ‘preaching to the convertible’. Some delegates referred to young males as those who might most benefit from engagement on this topic. It was highlighted that girls and young women usually most need mentors. Successful female legislators have a responsibility to be visible and to make themselves available to those would benefit from their experiences.  

In a first for the CWP, a discussion was held at the 63rd CPC on the role of male Parliamentarians in championing gender equality which was attended by both male and female Parliamentarians at the conference. The discussion covered a wide range of views and experiences from different jurisdictions.

In addition, a gender-related workshop was held as part of the main conference on the subject of: ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s): How can CPA Members work with their own governments in ensuring that the SDG goals have a proper gender lens to ensure success in the areas of alleviating poverty and women’s empowerment?’ Delegates at this workshop considered how Parliamentarians could work with their respective governments to ensure that the implementation of the SDGs had a proper gender lens. The workshop was moderated by Hon. Sagufta Yasmin, MP, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians President (Bangladesh) and the discussion leaders were: Hon. Yasmin Ratansi, MP (Canada Federal); Hon. Dr Jiko Luveni, Speaker of Parliament (Fiji); Hon. Dr Nafisa Shah, MNA (Pakistan); and Ms Shoko Ishikawa (UN Women).

The recommendations from the CWP gender workshop and the discussion on male champions were included in the overall Conference Concluding Statement for the 63rd CPC.            

Published Wednesday 15 November 2017.


Notes to Editors:

The 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, taking place from 1-8 November 2017 in Dhaka, Bangladesh is the annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and is hosted by the CPA Bangladesh Branch and the Parliament of Bangladesh. 

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), now in its 106th year with HM Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth as its Patron, exists to develop, promote and support Commonwealth Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and to implement the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 

For further information about the CPA, please contact: 

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Secretariat, Westminster House, 
Suite 700, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, 
United Kingdom 
T: 44-20-7799-1460 
F: 44-20-7222-6073 

Email hq.sec@cpahq.org
For media enquiries, please contact editor@cpahq.org.