Commonwealth African Women Parliamentarians help to strengthen Women’s Parliamentary Caucuses in Lesotho 

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Africa Region, who is also the Deputy Chairperson of Committees in the South Africa Parliament, Hon. Angela Thoko Didiza, MP, has visited Lesotho to share experiences of gender equality and to help to strengthen the Women’s Multi-Party Parliamentary Caucus. This initiative aims to help Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians to appreciate their role in advancing women’s interests through legislation and to work across regional and national borders to share positive experiences that can advance women’s interests and equality.

Addressing the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in Maseru, Lesotho on 31 August 2018 on the functions of national women’s caucuses, Hon. Angela Thoko Didiza, MP said that women can achieve more when they work together even when it is across party lines. The CWP Africa Region Chairperson also spoke about the work of the CWP and its programmes across the Africa Region and beyond and concluded by saying: “It might be the end of Women’s Month in terms of the calendar, but every day must be Women’s Month. Particularly with issues of gender-based violence, men need to partner with women to ensure that we actually remove this scourge in our society.”

In response, the Chairperson of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in Lesotho, Hon Matšepo Ramakoae said that women play an important role in society although they are aware of the many challenges facing Basotho women and girls which include poverty, child marriage, gender-based violence and maternal death. Hon Matšepo Ramakoae said: “We are many in numbers, we are the ones who go for elections, we are the ones who are bringing up families and if we don’t do that, we are not going anywhere. So, if the Commonwealth has realised that, I think we are going somewhere else. We are going to go to a point where this region or the African continent will change from where it is, if we, as women, stand up to the point where we want to go.”

News coverage: SABC News Video: Thoko Didiza visits Lesotho Women Parliamentarian Caucus
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Updated 12th September 2018.

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) was founded in 1989 to increase the number of female elected representatives in Parliaments and legislatures across the Commonwealth and to ensure that women’s issues are brought to the fore in parliamentary debate and legislation. The network campaigns for gender equality in all spheres. 

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 
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