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Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians aim to ‘break the bias’ to build gender equality and representation in Parliaments at CWP triennial conference in Canada

Women Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth have gathered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for the 7th triennial conference of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), held ahead of the wider 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. The theme of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Conference was ‘BreaktheBias: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’.

The CWP Conference was opened by the Vice-Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Hon. Valerie Woods, MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Assembly of Belize who welcomed delegates.

The CWP President (2022), Hon. Myrna Dreidger, MP, Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly spoke to the CWP conference about her experience as a legislator.

Over 100 Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians attended the conference from across the Commonwealth. The CWP conference saw leading figures in Commonwealth Parliaments addressing the conference and included four wide-ranging sessions for delegates on the following issues: Empowering Women Parliamentarians and Promoting Diversity / Intersectionality; Effectively Combating all forms of Abuse and Harassment in Parliament; Financial Empowerment of Women and Gender-Sensitive Budgeting; Promoting Gender-Sensitive Parliaments Post-Pandemic.

The CWP Conference also heard from Members from the Parliaments of Canada, India, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Australia, Malaysia, Scotland, Gujarat, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom and New Zealand as well as experts from the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the World Trade Organization.

Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP from the House of Representatives at the Federal Parliament of Nigeria was elected as the new Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians in succession to the outgoing CWP Chairperson, Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan (Pakistan) during the CWP Conference.

The newly elected Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP from the House of Representatives at the Federal Parliament of Nigeria pledged to renew the effort to increase women’s representation and political participation in Parliaments across the Commonwealth. The new CWP Chairperson was elected for a three-year term at the CWP Business Meeting. Under CPA election rules only female delegates to the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and CWP Steering Committee Members could take part in the vote to elect a new CWP Chairperson.

Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP is a Member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, representing the Bama/Ngala/Kala Balge Federal Constituency of Borno State. She was elected to the House in February 2019. She is one of the longest serving Commissioners in Borno State, serving from 2011 to 2018 and the only female representative in Parliament from the state. She is also the CWP Africa Regional Chairperson.

 

7th CWP Conference

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7th CWP Conference

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7th CWP Conference

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7th CWP Conference

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The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg said:

“I congratulate Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, outgoing CWP Chairperson for the important achievements she has made during her term in office. On behalf of the entire CPA membership, we are incredibly grateful to her for her leadership over the past three years. I very much look forward to working with Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP, the new CWP Chairperson during the next three years and wish her all the very best in this important role.”

Ahead of the CWP Conference, the CWP Steering Committee met in Canada representing the nine CPA Regions: Africa; Asia; Australia; British Isles and the Mediterranean; Canada; Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic; India; Pacific; and South-East Asia. The CWP Steering Committee reconfirmed Hon. Valerie Woods, MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Assembly of Belize as the CWP Vice-Chairperson for another term.

Above: The CWP Steering Committee meet in Halifax, Canada.

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) is the network of women Members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Parliament and Legislatures. The CWP network provides a means of building the capacity of women elected to Parliament to be 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.

-ENDS-

Further information about the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) can be found at the official conference website www.65cpc.ca and also at the 65th CPC Hub.

On social media follow the hashtag #65CPC

Images of the 65th CPC are also available at the CPA's Flickr page

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) organises its annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) to address global political issues and developments in the parliamentary system through conference workshops and sessions for leading Parliamentarians representing Parliaments and Legislatures throughout 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 media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org.

Related Resources

CWP Strategic Plan 2020-2022

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Strategic Plan 2020-2022 sets out the network's mission statement, outcomes and thematic priorities.

CWP Gender-Sensitising Parliaments: A Seven-Step Field Guide

This Field Guide complements the 'CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines', providing a blueprint for Parliaments interested in undertaking a gender sensitive review and making their institution more inclusive and representative.

CWP Anti-Harassment Policy Guidelines: A Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments

The CWP Anti-Harassment Policy Guidelines support Parliaments across the Commonwealth in the effort to both address and remove all traces of harassment across parliamentary workplaces.

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