Helping Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures become Gender Sensitive Institutions: Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) launches its updated CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines  

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network has published a new set of guidelines titled CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and a Checklist for Parliamentary Change to highlight the importance of gender sensitising across all Parliaments in the Commonwealth. 

The Guidelines build on the recommendations proposed in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Gender Sensitising Parliaments Report that was produced in 2001 following analysis by a study group of women Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth. Now updated to reflect the current issues that hinder the process to achieving gender equality, the new CWP Guidelines provide Commonwealth Parliaments with an outline of gender sensitising standards that they can look to achieve.

Click here to view and download a copy of the CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and a Checklist for Parliamentary Change or please visit

Produced by Sarah Childs, Professor of Gender and Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London on behalf of the CWP, the newly released CWP Guidelines and Checklist is designed to encourage Parliaments to look into priority areas that need to be strengthened in order to help legislatures to become effective gender sensitive institutions. 

The CWP Chairperson, Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA (Pakistan) said: “The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians recognises the important role it plays in raising and addressing issues relating to gender equality, in particular, the representation of women in Parliaments. The network will continue to encourage and support Parliamentarians, of all genders, to include a gender perspective in all aspects of their role - legislation, oversight and representation and to help Parliaments become gender sensitive institutions. Through the implementation of this important document, I am confident that Parliaments will be empowered to successfully initiate gender sensitive reforms. The CPA and CWP stand ready to support any CPA Branch that is interested in adopting gender sensitive practices to ensure they can successfully create and permanently maintain both a culture and environment that responds to the needs and interest of persons of all genders.”

Professor Sarah Childs said: “It’s been 20 years since the CPA and CWP published its first Gender Sensitising Guidelines; much has changed in the intervening years. In many Parliaments there are more women elected. But most Commonwealth Parliaments – indeed most of the world’s Parliaments – fail to deliver equality of representation for women. And, in too many places, women are still fighting for gender equality. 

The CPA and CWP were right to draw attention to the failings of democracy back in 2001 and it is even more important to do so today, in 2020. COVID-19 has revealed and exacerbates many longstanding gender inequalities and injustices. To redress these, the voices, experience, and expertise of women must be central to political decision-making and women must be present as decision makers in our political institutions. The 2020 Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines are especially designed to help Commonwealth Parliaments create the necessary conditions to deliver on their responsibility to reach the standard of gender sensitivity; to identify the actors and means through which reforms are implemented, and Gender Sensitising Parliaments Standards maintained.”

Click here to view and download a copy of the CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and a Checklist for Parliamentary Change or please visit 

Please click here for more information about the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network. 


Updated 28 October 2020.

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. 
For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Headquarters Secretariat,  
Richmond House,
Houses of Parliament,
London SW1A 0AA,
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)20 7799 1460
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