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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

As well as the Steering Committee, 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 August 2022.

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


Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba MP, Member of the Federal Parliament of Nigeria
Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network (2022 - 2025)

The CWP Chairperson was elected for a three-year term at the CWP Business Meeting at the CWP seventh triennial conference that took place in Halifax, Canada as part of the wider 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in August 2022.



Hon. Zainab Gimba is currently the Chairperson of the CWP Africa Region. She started her public service career as a Lecturer, in the Department of Public Administration, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria in 2002. Before entering Parliament, she had from 2011-2018 served as Commissioner in charge of Poverty Alleviation and Youth Empowerment, Universal Basic Education Board and Water Resources in Borno, Nigeria. Her public service was rewarded when her people elected her in 2019 to the Nigeria House of Representatives.

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Public Administration from the University of Maiduguri and a PhD in Public Administration and Policy Analysis from the University of Abuja. Hon. Gimba has received many awards and recognitions from professional and Trade Union bodies for her service in community development and empowerment of vulnerable women.


Previous Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Chairpersons include:
  • Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan MNA, Member of Parliament, Pakistan (2019-2022)
  • 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)

CWP Programmes

Learn more about the CWP projects, activities and events

CWP Regional Strengthening Funds - Apply Now

The CWP Regional Strengthening Fund is an annual grant made available to each of the CPA’s nine Regions to advance the CWP’s mission to ‘promote the representation of women in CPA Branches and women's full and equal participation in political and parliamentary leadership at all levels.'

Each CPA Region can bid for £10,000 to provide assistance in their efforts to undertake projects and events which align with the CWP's mission. 

How to apply:
Full details of the Fund and application forms have been distributed to all CPA Regional Secretaries. For more information and to apply, please contact your Regional Secretary.

Find contact details for CPA Regional Secretaries

Gender Sensitive Parliaments in the 21st century

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network is an active advocate for women's representation in Parliament, seeking to ensure Parliaments are gender-sensitive institutions.

The CWP network has produced two complementary publications to help Parliaments through the gender-sensitisation process:

  • CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and a Checklist for Parliamentary Change
  • CWP Gender-Sensitising Parliaments: A Seven-Step Field Guide
CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments

CWP Workshop: Champions for Gender Equality

In December 2022, Commonwealth Parliamentarians from 12 different jurisdictions came together in Canberra, Australia for a CWP Workshop on 'Champions for Gender Equality'.

Hosted by the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory, the workshop equipped 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.

Read about the CWP Workshop

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.

About International Women's Day 2023

Triennial CWP Conference

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 August 2022 in Halifax, Canada under the theme of ‘#BreaktheBias: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’.

Revisit the 2022 CWP Conference

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

Everything you need to know from CWP on International Women's Day 2023

Everything you need to know from CWP on International Women's Day 2023

Register for our new online course, watch a message from the CWP Chair and find out how Parliaments are marking #IWD2023

CWP ‘Champions for Gender Equality’ Workshop in ACT

CWP ‘Champions for Gender Equality’ Workshop in ACT

Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians ‘Champions for Gender Equality’ Workshop promotes equal representation in Commonwealth Parliaments

CWP Africa Region hosts 'Women in Leadership and Politics' workshop

CWP Africa Region hosts 'Women in Leadership and Politics' workshop

Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians in Africa Region encourage more women in leadership roles at workshop in Tanzania

CPA at 145th IPU Assembly in Rwanda

CPA at 145th IPU Assembly in Rwanda

Commonwealth Parliamentarians highlight gender equality for Parliaments at 145th IPU Assembly in Rwanda

Gender equality on the agenda in Gibraltar

Gender equality on the agenda in Gibraltar

Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians from CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region focus on attracting more women into Parliament at regional conference in Gibraltar

7th CWP triennial conference in Canada

7th CWP triennial conference in Canada

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

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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