Investing in the inclusion of women and girls in political processes and leadership directly benefits economic growth, good governance and participatory democracy. This week, the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) and UN Women is holding a three-day workshop in Bridgetown, Barbados on ‘Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean’ focusing on women’s empowerment in the region.
Speaking about the significance of women’s participation, Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC said:
“If we are to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the rising cost of living, then building the capacities of women in parliaments and other decision-making institutions cannot be overstated. While Caribbean countries have made considerable progress in improving the representation of women at all levels of decision-making, we can all do more to ensure that the lives of women and girls are improved in a meaningful way. By combining our collective resources to create greater gender-responsive political participation, we are championing human rights and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.”
As part of the “Commonwealth Inclusive Dialogue and Women’s Political Participation” project and funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), this workshop brings together experienced and aspirant women leaders from across the Commonwealth Caribbean.
Ahead of the workshop, CIWiL Regional Board President, Lady Anande Trotman Joseph said:
“Multiple crises are threatening to reverse the gains made in the past 50 years, by deepening existing inequalities, impacting women’s income generation, hampering their political and social mobility and exacerbating the dire levels of violence against women and girls. This workshop will critically reflect on the status of women in the Caribbean as well as create spaces and enduring networks where Caribbean women leaders can share lessons, experiences, best practices and develop their transformational leadership ethic.”
Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, Ms Tonni Brodber said:
“Data continues to show that inclusive policies and legislation that integrate gender responsiveness led to reduced inequality and increased economic growth.  Parliaments need more diversity of voices including more women from across all walks of life and vocal male allies demonstrating transformational leadership and advocating for gender responsive solutions to build back better.”
The workshop employs an experiential approach, utilising tools and case studies to support capacity building among Parliamentarians, women and men alike, to advance the role of women in leadership. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with regional and international specialists in politics, gender and development who will facilitate knowledge sharing and exchanges by applying a transformational leadership approach to good governance. The workshop also aims to strengthen technical competencies in parliamentary processes and procedures to strategically address key issues around gender inequality and women’s rights in the region.
The ‘Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean’ workshop emphasises the importance of leadership in the advancement of gender equality and building back better. The workshop is an important step in developing influential and accountable parliamentarians who will serve as champions in their national governments and regionally, for gender-responsive legislation, policies, governance and development processes.

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