Sub-branch of Commonwealth Women's Parliamentarians re-established

Women Members of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) convened on 14 Nov to re-establish its sub-branch of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network. The CWP is a network of women parliamentarians representing the parliaments across the Commonwealth nations. WCPP Deputy-Speaker Beverley Schäfer convened the meeting to re-establish the branch.

The meeting was attended by Ms Shandana Gulzar Khan, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and recently elected International Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians. Ms Gulzar Khan is committed to increasing the representation and political participation of women in parliaments across the Commonwealth. “I am excited about the establishment of this branch, the first in Africa with its own founding documents. This example will serve as a model for the establishment of sub-branches at other legislatures across the continent. It is important that legislatures establish sub-branch because this will enable them to access funding for their projects,” said Ms Gulzar Khan.

The aims of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians include:

  • Building the capacity of women elected to parliament to be more effective in their roles;
  • Improving the awareness and ability of parliamentarians, male and female, to include a gender perspective in all aspects of their role - legislation, oversight and representation;
  • Helping parliaments to become gender-sensitive institutions;
  • Encouraging more women into politics and connecting with the work of the Commonwealth;
  • Focusing on the themes of communication, advocacy and engagement;
  • Linking with other groups and associations such as United Nations Women, United Nations Development Programme and Commission on Status of Women; and
  • Expanding the work and understanding of the CWP.

The Western Cape Provincial Parliament branch of the CWP will meet in January in order to formalise their constitution and develop a business plan for their work during the remainder of the 6th Parliament.

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