I would like to be proud that my own country UK would lead by example, but instead
I feel angry and ashamed. A Swedish colleague just e-mailed me to say the UK has sent an all-male delegation of 8 MPs to this week’s Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Panama. It is embarassing. I spend most of my life promoting women’s participation in politics across the world. I am outraged.113 other countries sent delegations that include women, why not my own country the UK?
The Geneva based IPU is a global voice and forum for Parliamentarians from 154 national Parliaments. I know first-hand the IPU has been in the forefront of promoting women’s participation in parliaments worldwide. IPU view Gender equality as part of their great work helping to build better and more democratic parliaments. A unique aspect of their activities is that all IPU Member countries should send a Gender balanced team of parliamentarians to participate in their bi-annual Assemblies (a role model for EU, UN et al).
It was bad enough that a year ago David Cameron and Nick Clegg et al forgot (or decided not) to include women in negotiations that resulted in Coalition Government.
In our recent assessment of the IPU Gender Programmes we wrote,”We found the IPU to be much appreciated and trusted by Parliamentarians worldwide as an organisation with a shared wealth of knowledge and experience of the realities of the role of Parliamentarians. This trust and respect the Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Secretariat officials hold for the IPU is a major asset in its work with Parliaments on Gender and Women’s Rights because it confers credibility on the work of the Gender Programme. Advocacy on Gender equality and Women’s Rights is not universally popular. The fact it is the IPU promoting these issues carries real weight with Parliamentarians and the officials in Parliamentary Secretariats.”
The Joint Gender Review of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was commissioned by the Swedish International Development Authority (Sida) together with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Irish Aid. The Review took place between 1 April 2010 and 7 July 2010. The IPU Review was carried out by specialist Gender team Lesley Abdela and Ann Boman for Swedish consultancy InDevelop between 1 April 2010 and 7 July 2010.www.indevelop.se/publications/review-of-inter-parliametnary-unions-gender-program-gender-equality-in-politics