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Day 2 update: Commonwealth women want active roles in decision-making processes

Posted on 16/06/2013
By Martin Petts

Civil society leaders demand active roles for women in decision-making processes. Governments urged to place emphasis on economic empowerment of women and girls in the post 2015 development agenda.

Ahead of the 10th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministerial Meeting (10WAMM) which will be inaugurated by the Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina on Monday, 17 June, delegates from 17 Commonwealth countries debated the theme of “Women’s Leadership for Enterprise”. Key recommendations will be submitted to Senior Officials at the ministerial meeting. The keynote speaker for the ministerial meeting and President, International Federation of Professional Women, Frieda Miriklis stated, “Women’s economic empowerment should be by women, for women … and that the time has come to implement this idea without further delay.”

Speakers, including Patti O’Neill, Co-ordinator, DAC Network on Gender Equality, Global Policies and Partnership Division, OECD emphasised the need for inclusion of grassroots level participation in the development of the post 2015 agenda. Participants from all continents agreed that women’s and girls’ economic empowerment should be ensured to better society. “We should educate young women to be self reliant in a manner that they grow up to do and be whatever they like,” said Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne, a social entrepreneur from Sri Lanka. 

Commonwealth Foundation Chair and former Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Anand Satyanand, who presided over the session on “Should women’s economic empowerment be a central theme of the post-2015 agenda?” agreed with the delegates that gender equality and women’s rights should be the focus of the post 2015 agenda.

Key contributors to the debate included Meena Shivdas from the Commonwealth Secretariat, Shaheena Janjuha, Arif Zaman, Rukiyah Khatun, Neha Singh, Barbara Kasumu from United Kingdom, Sheepa Hafiza, Rokeya Kabir, Farzana Khan and Anir Chowdhury from Bangladesh, Ana Kessie (Tonga), Aasia Khan (Pakistan), Shoba Nayar(India), Pauline Ngari (Kenya), Gia Gaspard Taylor (Trinidad and Tobago) and Dr. Bola Olabisi, CEO of Global Women Inventors and Innovators and Myn Garcia, Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Foundation.