Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians ‘Champions for Gender Equality’ Workshop promotes equal representation in Commonwealth Parliaments
Commonwealth Parliamentarians from 12 different jurisdictions came together in Canberra, Australia for the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Workshop on Champions for Gender Equality held from 5 to 7 December 2022.
Hosted by the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory, the workshop was designed to equip male and female Members of Parliament with skills and resources to take action on gender equality to strengthen their roles as gender champions in their respective Parliaments.
Participants from the Australian Capital Territory, Bangladesh, Gauteng (South Africa), Jamaica, Kerala (India), New South Wales, Niue, Pakistan, Samoa, Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa), Queensland and Western Australia were welcomed to the CWP Workshop by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory, Joy Burch, MLA, who is also the Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches network. In her opening remarks, the Speaker empathised that:
“You can’t be what you can’t see. The prominence of women in political leadership is an important catalyst in motivating other women to become involved. Increased participation of woman has a snowball effect because the visibility of women in these positions encourages other women to become politically active and seek out these positions.”
Expanding on the work already being undertaken by the CWP network on gender-sensitive Parliaments (GSP) with particular reference to two of the dimensions of a GSP: Equality of Participation and Gender Equality Policy/Women’s Substantive Representation, the CWP Workshop looked at how Champions of all genders can better address discriminatory practices, unequal access to resources and other issues that prevent the equal participation of women in Parliament. Participants also discussed the importance of developing gender parliamentary caucuses and how they can be utilised to promote gender-sensitive Parliaments and gender equality.
In a goodwill message sent to participants at the CWP Workshop, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network, Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP (Nigeria) said:
“As we pursue this mandate together, it is vital that we act as gender champions throughout our time in Parliament, whilst also encouraging those around us to join us in this noble cause. Whilst we all share the same ambitions to see more women in Parliament and positions of leadership, we also have our own contexts and journeys to share with each other.”
Key CWP Workshop ‘lessons learnt’:
- Breaking away from the idea that gender equality is a women’s issue.
- Looking beyond numbers and towards the meaningful participation of women in Parliaments.
- Building a community of gender champions to advocate for equality.
- Creating impetus for change in Parliaments with low numbers of women.
- Effectively identifying and engaging with key stakeholders who can support the efforts of gender champions.
Video: Niue MP O'Love Jacobsen speaks below about 'lessons learnt' at the CWP Workshop - view below or click here.
Workshop participants also had the opportunity to hear from a leading expert in the field, Dr Sonia Palmieri, Policy Fellow (Gender) at The Australian National University as well as speaking with organisations engaged in promoting gender equality including YWCA Canberra, The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at The Australian National University, Equality Rights Alliance Canberra, the Gender Institute at The Australian National University, Future Women and Women for Election Australia.
For images of the CWP Workshop please click here.
The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) was founded in 1989 to increase the number of female elected representatives in 180 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. For media enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.