Commonwealth Women Leaders note issues for gender equality

Violence against women and girls continues to be a serious challenge globally and women need to protect women in politics.

These were amongst a number of issues highlighted at the first ever Commonwealth Women Leaders’ Summit held last week (Thursday 14/07). The Summit, an initiative of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland gathered a group of women leaders and activists from across the Commonwealth countries.

The result of the summit will form part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Gender Equality Framework 2020.
Fijian Parliament Speaker Hon. Dr Jiko Luveni was the moderator for the session on ‘Women in Leadership’.

Participants in this session, which included some Members of Parliament, Speakers and representatives from the business sector, noted the importance of ‘Temporary Special Measures’ and quotas as a way of increasing women’s participation in national leadership positions.

The group also called for a “school of leadership in governance, public leadership and enterprise”. There was consensus for more training, mentoring and sponsorship for young women to get into the field of leadership in both the public and private sector.

Furthermore, there was a call for women to support and encourage each other; particularly for women politicians who were often ostracized for their political positions and actions.

The points raised at the Summit will assist the Commonwealth Secretariat prepare for the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministerial in Samoa in September.

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles made a surprise visit to the Summit and offered some encouraging words to the participants.

Hon. Dr Jiko Luveni was delighted to shake hands with her and had a brief talk before the Duchess left the meeting room.