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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Women Parliamentary Caucuses to ensure gender equality Md Osman Ali

(From previous issue) :
The WPC can increase their effectiveness by building relationships NGOs, political parties, research centers and others which may be willing to sponsor or support an event or partner to work on specific issues. To gain passage of their proposed changes, WPC must also build relations with the powers that be within parliament, and particularly with committees responsible for gender and gender equality issues
The WPC can draw parliamentarian's attention on necessity of a number of amendments to the Rules of Procedure (ROP) of the parliament in the spirit of gender sensitivity, and adequate representation of women members in, leadership position, parliament committee etc.  The amendment may include  a)Nomination of women at first or second position numerically out  of a five-member panel of chairman to get chance to preside over the sittings of the House in absence of the Speaker ( ROP 12.1), b)Involvement  of  committee including that of women and Children Affairs  to scrutinize the budget in gender perspective (ROP 111),c) Inclusion of at least two women in all  committee (ROP 247.1), d)  Appointments to committee  member on the basis of special interests, such as Women's Caucus, Youth Caucus, etc (to be added  in ROP188.2), c) Creation of position of Deputy Chairperson of committee in addition to Chairperson and two posts  be held by  women  and  male member(ROP 191.1) etc
The WPC members can identify for explicit use of gender-specific term  such as "women and girl" in the constitution, because the gender neutral language terminology such as citizen  tends  to avoid distinguishing need of men and women  where  there is possibility for women and girl to be deprived of equal opportunity. Hence the WPC can influence the parliamentarian to incorporate the word "men and women" in the constitution instead of "citizen' in order   to confirm women need in distribution of wealth and basic necessities of life,
Challenges and Possible Solution for WPC : The WPCs takes adequate endeavors to forge ahead with their programs. Despite they are faced with a number of challenges, including: different political views, difficulty in prioritization of women issues inadequate funds to facilitate activities, insufficient knowledge on legislative roles, lack of strategic planning that outlines their work etc.  However challenges and possible solution to combat challenges are as follows
Unity among the caucus Members: The major challenge faced caucus members is the need to establish a united group of women despite differing party affiliation and sometimes divergent views. When  all women parliamentarian do not possess a sense of 'togetherness' as a group  due to difference in political ideology,   the purpose of Women's caucus is futile and  it fall victim into internal strife of difference of political party. Parliamentarians who are not willing to work for common agenda by putting aside ideological differences can hamper the effectiveness of group.                          (To be continued)