In March, the Group was honoured to meet with the Sri Lankan Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus. This group connects women parliamentarians across party lines to promote the empowerment of all women and eliminate violence and harassment.
Over the years, they have succeeded in promoting a local government quota of 25 per cent to encourage women’s participation in politics. They are now working to scale this up to higher levels of government.
Using parliamentary advocacy, coordinating activities with women in all levels of government, working in partnership with local women’s organisations, and connecting with international parliamentarians, they work collaboratively to
Support the participation of women in politics
Safeguard women’s rights and gender equality
Tackle all forms of violence and harassment against women
Address a wide range of issues with a particular focus on poor and vulnerable women - including health, education, and legal aid.
Their visit to Canberra formed part of a DFAT supported tour exploring issues of women’s representation and leadership in parliament, models for tackling gender base violence and women’s economic empowerment.
The Minister for Women and Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, attended the morning tea and spoke to the valuable connections between these two portfolios. She highlighted her interest in safety, economic empowerment and engagement, as well as ensuring more flexibility to support women and men balance working and caring roles.
They were pleased to connect with a similar group in the Australian Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, and learn about other cross-party models for working collaboratively to support gender equality and development issues.
The Caucus also spoke about the APGPD’ sister group, the Sri Lankan Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Sustainable Development (SLPPD), which hosted Australian Chair Mrs Ann Sudmalis at a regional conference in 2017. Mrs Sudmalis spoke highly of this event and was particularly impressed with the involvement of the youth parliament.