CWP Conference - Workshop A - Empowering Women Parliamentarians and Promoting Diversity/ Intersectionality
In order for Parliaments and legislatures to function as truly representative institutions and safeguards of democracy, it is vital that the views and priorities of all sections of society are represented. Whilst the number of Commonwealth legislatures with 30% or more women members has grown to an all-time high of 45 in 2022, the number of legislatures with no women legislators has grown to the highest level (14 legislatures) since 2016. Furthermore, other underrepresented groups have experienced low levels of parliamentary representation, with data on persons with disabilities in Parliament across the world being particularly difficult to find. Indeed, when the CPA Headquarters Secretariat sought to gather data on persons with disabilities in Parliament, a number of legislatures responded that they did not know the levels of representation or did not look to gather these statistics.
This session will explore how the narrative can shift from a focus on a need for those underrepresented individuals to be better equipped for public office and towards how institutions and norms can better accommodate and promote increased diversity. Particularly, the session will look at the importance of women in positions of parliamentary leadership, including in traditionally hard portfolios. The session will also encourage consideration of how Parliaments can better monitor their levels of diversity within the membership and why this is important. Finally, the session will look beyond the representative function of Parliament at what increased diversity can mean for better legislation and improved oversight of the Executive.
To browse the workshop reading list, read the draft recommendation and submit a feedback form, visit: