CPA Parliamentary Academy
Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians

CWP ‘Champions for Gender Equality’ Workshop in Tanzania promotes equal representation in Commonwealth Parliaments

Commonwealth Parliamentarians from 17 different jurisdictions came together in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania for the second Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Workshop on ‘Champions for Gender Equality: Achieving Equal Participation in Commonwealth Parliaments’ held from 6 to 8 December 2023.

Hosted by the Parliament of Tanzania and the CPA Africa Region, 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.

Above: Participants at the CWP Workshop on ‘Champions for Gender Equality' in Tanzania. Click here for further images.

Participants from Belize; Botswana; Canada Federal; Eastern Cape; Kenya; Kerala; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Queensland; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Tanzania; Victoria; and Zambia were welcomed to the CWP Workshop by the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Chairperson, Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP (Nigeria); Hon. Angellah Kairuki, MP, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism (representing the Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania); Hon. Madina Ndangiza, MP (Rwanda), CWP Africa Region Chairperson; and the CPA Africa Regional Secretary, Ms Nenelwa Joyce Mwihambi, who is also the Clerk of the National Assembly of Tanzania. The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg also sent a video message to the participants.

In her opening remarks, the CWP Chairperson 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.

As gender champions, we must guide against all forms of misconceptions that limit women, we must continue to take more seriously, our parliamentary caucuses for therein lies our strength and cohesion, we must continue to synergise to mentor, empower and encourage ourselves to positions of prominence in political leadership.”

The Tanzanian Minister, Hon. Angellah Kairuki, MP spoke about the importance of including everyone in the campaign for gender equality and said:

“Undoubtedly, gender equality in politics, can only be achieved if men work side by side with women to share the responsibility in breaking harmful cultural norms and practices, as well as the institutional, structural and legal barriers that hinder women’s equal and influential political participation.
We should bear in mind that gender equality is not guaranteed simply because there are women in Parliament. It is more a question of how gender-sensitive the Parliament, its policies and its infrastructure are. It requires a combination of greater numbers of women; stronger gender-sensitive infrastructure; and stronger gender equality policy and legislation. A gender-sensitive Parliament is one that responds to the needs and interests of both men and women in its structures, operations, methods and in its work.”

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 and 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.

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.

Workshop participants also had the opportunity to hear from leading experts in the field including Dr Lulu Mahai, Director of the Institute of Gender Studies at the University of Dar Es Salaam; Kimberly McArthur from the Apolitical Foundation; Suzie Dunn from University of Ottawa/Dalhousie University; Dr Kiran Hassan, Coordinator of Freedom of Expression and Digital Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies as well as speaking with organisations engaged in promoting gender equality in Tanzania including UN Women; Institute of Gender Studies; Tanzania Media Women Association; Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA); Thamani Foundation; Tanzania Gender Networking Programme; and Equality for Growth Tanzania.

This workshop continued the recent work of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network which held workshops on gender quotas in Parliament and mapping discriminatory laws across the Commonwealth at the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Ghana.

For further images of the workshop please click here.

 

-ENDS-

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 communications@cpahq.org.  

Additional Resources

CWP Gender Mainstreaming Leaflet

This information sheet explains gender mainstreaming and approaches to practical application within Parliamentary institutions. 

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