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CPA Network

Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP)

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) is the network of women Members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Parliaments and Legislatures. The 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.

CWP Mission

To promote the representation of women in CPA Branches and women's full and equal participation in all political and parliamentary leadership at all levels.
CWP represents over 3,000 women parliamentarians, in over 180 Commonwealth national and sub-national Parliaments, across all 9 Regions of the CPA.

CWP Governance and Structure

Learn more about the CWP and who we are
History of CWP

Recognising 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 recognised in the CPA Constitution and its elected Chairperson became part of the CPA Executive Committee.


CWP International Steering Committee
A CWP Steering Committee of 11 Women Members (9 Regional Representatives  representing the CPA Regions, the CWP Chairperson and the CWP President) plan its activities. The CWP  President serves for a term of one year.  Each Regional Representative and the CWP Chairperson  serves for a term of three years. Every year, three members (one third of the Committee) rotates off the Steering Committee and is replaced by three new Members ensuring that there is always a continuity in the the Steering Committee's work.

The current list of CWP Steering Committee Members can be found here

CWP Regions

In addition to the CWP international activities, 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 refer to the following links:

CWP Chairperson

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 CWP sixth triennial conference that took place in Kampala, Uganda as part of the wider 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in September 2019.


The CWP Chairperson, Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA pledged to renew the effort to increase women’s representation and political participation in Parliaments across the Commonwealth. Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA is a  qualified legal professional with extensive knowledge and experience in international trade and economic law advocacy and an articulate communicator, fluent in three languages, she was elected to the National Assembly in August 2018. As an activist, she has worked on economic rehabilitation of abandoned post-incarceration females and providing opportunities for their families; developing training and legislation for female lawyers; as well as advising NGOs to better understand societal problems. She has authored various articles on a number of issues, including the creation of Pakistan’s first IP strategic framework, the industrial policy vacuum and has conducted many training seminars on various aspects of international trade policy and development.

Previous Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Chairpersons include:

  • Hon. Dr Dato' Noraini Ahmad MP, Member of the Parliament of Malaysia (2016-2019)
  • Rt Hon. Rebecca Kadaga MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda (2013-2016)
  • Hon. Alix Boyd Knights MHA, Speaker Emerita of the House of Assembly of Dominica (2010-2013)
  • Ms Kashmala Tariq MNA, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan (2007-2010)
  • Hon. Lindiwe Maseko MP, former Speaker of the Provincial Legislature of Gauteng (2004-2007)

Download the CWP Strategic Plan 2020-2022

Latest Issue:

CWP Strategic Plan 2020-2022:

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

CWP Programmes

Learn more about the CWP projects, activities and events
CWP Regional Strengthening Funds

The CPA supports the work of the CWP with its Regional Strengthening Funds. Annually, a grant of GBP £10,000 is allocated to each of the nine CPA regions to provide assistance in their efforts to undertake projects and events which align with the CWP's strategic objectives.

To find out more about some of the recent regional activities delivered with the support of the funds, contact us.

Gender Sensitive Parliaments in the 21st century

The CWP is an active advocate, seeking to ensure Parliaments are gender-sensitive institutions.

Find out more about the CWP's work in Gender Sensitising Parliaments.

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day, first celebrated in 1911, marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.

Every year the CWP celebrate the day in a variety of ways, but always with the focus of promoting the interests of women and girls. In 2022, Women Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth will mobilise behind the #BreakTheBias slogan. Members will join the global campaign to both challenge gender bias and inequality that make it difficult for women to move ahead and to also celebrate women’s achievements and to help create an inclusive world.

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, the CWP Chairperson, Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA (Pakistan) has published a #ChoosetoChallenge video message. To watch the message click here or view below.

In 2021, the CWP network released a series of short videos online and on social media, offering an insight into the life of women Parliamentarians and their efforts to facilitate the empowerment of women at every level of society. Women MPs featured from CPA Nigeria; Pakistan; St. Lucia; Ontario; India; Cook Islands and Malaysia.

Triennial Conference of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians

Held every three years, the Conference, delivered on the margins of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference is one of the largest gatherings of women parliamentarians from the Commonwealth. 

The most recent CWP Conference was held in September 2019 in Kampala, Uganda under the theme of ‘CWP at 30 years: Achievements and Unfinished Business – Looking forward to the next 30 years’ in recognition of the CWP’s 30th anniversary in 2019. For a report of the CWP Conference please click here.

The next Conference is due to be held in Halifax, Canada in August 2022.

As well as the Conference, the CWP Business Meeting held annually deals with the business of the CWP and takes place before the CPA Annual Conference. It was previously only open to women delegates, observers and clerks, but since the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Cameroon, male delegates, observers and clerks were permitted to attend as well. This was supported widely by the CWP as it was agreed that for women to gain ground politically, men had to support them through this process. The most recent CWP Business Meeting was held in September 2019.

Male Champions and Allies

In 2022, the CWP network will deliver a Workshop that will seek to address how male parliamentarians can support women parliamentarians in addressing discriminatory practises, unequal access to resources and other issues that prevent the equal participation of women in parliament. Titled ‘Male Champions for Gender Equality’ , it will speak to CPA Branches who have under 10% of women representation in their parliament and will also be attended by both male and female members of parliaments from Branches who fall within this category.

For further information about this Workshop, please contact us.

CWP Resources

Browse CPA and Commonwealth publications

Download our resources

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 Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and a Checklist for Parliamentary Change

These guidelines have been created to help Commonwealth Parliaments to become gender sensitive institutions, providing legislatures with an outline of gender sensitising standards that they can look to achieve. 

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.

Related Videos

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CWP News

Caribbean women leaders share leadership lessons at regional workshop

Caribbean women leaders share leadership lessons at regional workshop

Women leaders from Parliament and civil society joined a three-day Workshop on Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean

Visit to CPA Pakistan Branch

Visit to CPA Pakistan Branch

Focus on gender equality, youth engagement and parliamentary strengthening as CPA delegation visit Pakistan

International Women's Day 2022

International Women's Day 2022

Parliaments and Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth are celebrating women's achievements and joining the global #BreakTheBias and ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’ campaigns.

Belize National Assembly establishes Women Parliamentarians Caucus

Belize National Assembly establishes Women Parliamentarians Caucus

Women Parliamentarians in the National Assembly of Belize have agreed to the establishment of a new Women Parliamentarians Caucus.

Diversity in Parliament: Workplace Equality & Diversity Networks

Diversity in Parliament: Workplace Equality & Diversity Networks

New CPA publication introduces Workplace Equality & Diversity Networks (WEDNs) and provides examples of their use in Commonwealth Parliaments.

New toolkit supports mental health in parliamentary workplaces

New toolkit supports mental health in parliamentary workplaces

The CPA Mental Health Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments provides guidance, advice and education on how to protect and promote the mental health and well-being of Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff.

Meet the CPA Headquarters team

Contact us if you'd like to know more about the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP)
James Pinnell
Deputy Head of Programmes - Multilateral Engagement
CPA Headquarters Secretariat
Bénite Dibateza
Programmes Manager - CWP Coordinator
CPA Headquarters Secretariat


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