Commonwealth Parliamentary Association partners with UN Women to promote gender equality through parliamentary engagement

Commonwealth Parliamentarians will benefit from a new partnership that will provide training and development programmes on gender equality. A new agreement between the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), with its membership of almost 180 Parliaments and Legislatures across the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network, and UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, aims to ensure that the legal needs of women and girls are better addressed through parliamentary debate and legislation.

A joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg, and UN Women Executive Director, Ms Sima Sami Bahous. The partnership will help to further both organisations’ key objectives in the areas of gender equality and the eradication of discriminatory laws, particularly towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5. 

UN Women Executive Director, Ms Sima Sami Bahous, said: “Globally, more than 2.5 billion women and girls are affected by unequal laws or a lack of legal protection. The full realization of women’s rights is dependent on the repeal and eradication of such laws and the unbiased and effective rule of law. UN Women is committed to structured engagement to achieve legislative and constitutional reforms for just, peaceful and inclusive societies; environmental and climate justice; equal participation in decision-making at all levels; universal access to essential public services; and economic prosperity for all. This partnership with CPA is a strategic opportunity for the achievement of our shared goals of gender equality and the empowerment of women, as well as making progress toward equality in law for women and girls by 2030.” 

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network, Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP (Nigeria) said: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is a vital step towards strengthening the work of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network in tackling the global gender inequality that we face. By working together with UN Women, the CWP will be able to provide expertise and training on gender equality for the CPA’s wider membership. This will strengthen Parliamentarians’ ability to pass gender equal legislation and to implement the necessary laws at all levels to remove discrimination. The CWP network continues to promote women’s equal participation at all levels and to improve the awareness and ability of all Parliamentarians, regardless of gender, to include a gender perspective in all aspects of their role—legislation, oversight and representation, in order to help Parliaments to become gender-sensitive institutions.” 

As a result of the MoU signing, a number of programmes and initiatives will assist legislators to:  

  • formulate and review appropriate legislation to pursue gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

  • enhance and strengthen efforts to address discriminatory legislation in Commonwealth countries, to deepen public debate and enhance accountability in the movement towards greater gender equality and equity through the delivery of equal laws. 

  • advance skills to combat discriminatory legislation and review gender-sensitive legislation. 

  • mainstream gender in the strengthening of the institutions of Parliament and the rule of law. 

  • ensure that women’s issues are brought to the fore in parliamentary debate and legislation. 

  • facilitate international exchange to share best practice on legislation in pursuit of gender equality. 

  • commit to the work of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians network. 

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