Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP)


About the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP)

To view a video about the work of the CWP please click below:

To view the video interview with Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (short version) please click here.
A longer version of the video interviews can be found by clicking here.

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 Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network provides a means of building the capacity of women elected to parliament to be more effective in their roles; improving the awareness and ability of all Parliamentarians, male and female, and encouraging them to include a gender perspective in all aspects of their role - legislation, oversight and representation and helping parliaments to become gender-sensitive institutions. 

Despite constituting half of the world’s population, women continue to be disproportionately represented in governance and at all levels of decision-making. Women historically and globally have been the subject of cultural and legal disabilities which have hindered women’s ability over generations to reach their full potential. Today, women participate in terms of real numbers in a minimal way in the political/parliamentary process despite their representation in populations globally. This reflects one of the last vestiges of the historical disproportion of female participation at the state and national levels of endeavour.

To affirm its commitment to strengthen the participation of women in government and society, the Commonwealth Heads of Government committed themselves to gender equality in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991. This was anchored by the CW Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-2015 Plan of Action (PoA), which draws on international commitments for the realisation of women’s rights.

Recognizing the need of increasing women’s representation in political institutions, the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) was founded by women delegates at the 1989 plenary CPA conference so women at future conferences could discuss ways to increase female representation in Parliament and work towards the mainstreaming of gender considerations in all CPA activities and programmes. In 2004, the group was formally recognized in the CPA Constitution and its elected Chairperson became part of the CPA Executive Committee.  

To read the latest CWP annual review for 2019/2020 about recent CWP activities then please click here.

The CWP Strategic Plan 2020-2022 is also available to view by clicking here and outlines the strategic aims of the organisation.

Steering Committee of 11 Women Members from across the regions of the CPA plan its activities. The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) is Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA of the National Assembly of Pakistan. The CWP Chairperson was elected for a three-year term at the CWP Business Meeting at the sixth triennial conference of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) that took place in Kampala, Uganda as part of the wider 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in September 2019.

In accordance with the CWP Strategy, the CWP Alumni network has been launched with the objective of providing a framework for former women Parliamentarians to deliver mentoring, coaching and advice to the benefit of sitting women Parliamentarians and to act as a resource for the CPA. Find out more about the CWP Alumni network by clicking here.

For further information including the aims of the CWP, please contact the CPA Secretariat on

In addition, Members can connect with other Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians through the CWP social media page on Facebook click here.

In addition to CWP International, there are regional groups of the CWP with their own steering committees and programmes of activities. For further information on CWP activities within CPA regions, please click here.

Updated 14/08/2020/CPAHQ