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Enhancing women’s political participation the focus

This coming week, members of the New Zealand Parliament will be involved in two events aimed at strengthening women’s political participation and recognising the importance of diversity in democratic institutions.

In Turkey, Deputy Speaker Hon Anne Tolley MP is leading sessions in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) workshop on Women in Politics. Ms Tolley is vice-president of the IPU’s Bureau of Women’s Parliamentarians, which is tasked with promoting increased numbers of women in parliaments and effective decision-making for women and girls. She will share lessons on measures to combat bullying and harassment, ways to enhance citizen engagement with parliament, and effective cross-party collaboration to advance legislation aimed at improving the lives of women.

Ms Tolley will then join Willow-Jean Prime MP in Australia at the United Nations Development Programme’s Pacific Women in Power Forum. The programme gives women across the Pacific the chance to share the progress their countries have made towards gender equality. This regional gathering will also explore barriers to women’s participation in politics; practical tools for effective communication and constituency work; and campaigning. Ms Prime will share developments in our parliament’s use of social media and public engagement.

Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, said: “For parliaments to be effective they must include and embrace diverse perspectives. It is useful to have the views of a long-serving member, the Deputy Speaker, and a relatively new member feed into the regional and global dialogues about how we can enhance not only the numbers of women in parliament, but also the impact of their contribution.

“I am pleased that just a week after New Zealand celebrated 100 years since women won their right to sit in this Parliament, our members are going out into the world to share our journey. It is important that 25 years on from the landmark Beijing Declaration, we continue to challenge the structural and cultural barriers for women in politics.”

The Women in Politics Workshop takes place from 1 to 3 November in Istanbul, Turkey. The Pacific Women in Power Forum takes place in Brisbane, Australia from 5 to 8 November.

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