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WOMEN’S


ENGAGEMENT AND PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS


ENLIVENING WOMEN’S ENGAGEMENT WITH PARLIAMENT


If Parliaments are to be truly representative of the communities they serve, Parliamentarians need to work harder to increase women’s engagement with and participation in politics, argues the Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Australia.


Hon. Lisa Baker, MLC Ms Baker is the Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) for the Australia region.


as they work their way towards their goals and we must build strong relationships with like-minded groups and organizations who have a similar focus.


Hon. Lisa Baker, MLC


Advocating for gender equality in politics is an important focus of the work we are undertaking as Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) in the Australian Region.


In order to support women into positions of leadership I believe that we, as members of Parliaments, must direct our efforts outward into the wider community. By this, I mean we must seek out relationships with women who are looking for support


174 | The Parliamentarian | 2013: Issue Three


Over the past three years I am proud to say the CWP Australia Region Steering Committee has delivered a range of innovative initiatives that have taken our work into the Australian community and engaged women and men from all walks of life. CWP Australia has a full programme of action for our work. Some of our key initiatives are described below.


CWP Australia: Taking action CWP Australia is leading an exciting new programme which will see us working together with other regional Parliaments over the next five years to increase gender equality in the Pacific. Almost $3 million has been secured from the Australian Government’s international development agency,


AusAID, for the “Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships” project. In February we co-hosted the first event of the programme which saw dozens of Pacific and Australian Parliamentarians come together in Sydney to map out a long-term strategy to support the professional and skills development of Pacific women Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff.


The forum developed a 12 point outcomes statement which is available from our website at: www. pacificparliament.net/pwpp.html We have just launched stage 2 of the project which will involve MP exchanges and mentoring, needs assessments, parliamentary skills scholarships and attachments. Participants at the forum recognized that while in some Parliaments the numbers of women may be few, when the opportunity presents to unite at a regional level we do have a powerful voice as women


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