Young Women – Agents of Change: #FemParl II

Canada is committed to the view that gender equality is not only a human rights issue, but is also an essential component of sustainable development, social justice, peace, and security.

Globally women and youth are too often not at the table.

In South Asia, women’s participation is among the lowest in the world and well below international benchmarks.

Over the years, considerable strides have been made throughout South Asia but work remains. Canada is focused on achieving equitable and sustainable progress, improving women's status, and respecting women’s rights and contributions. 

Building on success –  #FemParl I

Last year, #FemParl I lent avoice to the need to increase and support women’s political engagement and participation in South Asia.

Canada was proud to host events that brought together key stakeholders and contributed to important breakthroughs in the region. A big step was taken by the Sri Lankan government in passing a Bill to establish a quota of 25% women in local governments.

The work continues – #FemParl II

The High Commissions of Canada to Sri Lanka, India, Pakistanand the Embassy of Canada in Afghanistan partnered to continue this important dialogue. 

This year’s theme was Young Women Leaders as Agents of Change. The program focussed on empowering young women to become agents of change through leadership and meaningful participation in political and social life, enabling them to realize their full potential and contribute to their community.   The participating delegates included inspiring, articulate and highly engaged young women.

Taking place over four days, two in Colombo, Sri Lanka and two in Delhi, India, delegates took part in capacity building sessions, panel discussions with universities, civil society organizations, think tanks and youth organizations, seminars and meetings with decisions makers.

Partners in Empowerment

Two Canadian partners, Equal Voice and Equitas, were on-hand to deliver training and provide examples of Canadian efforts to empower women.  

Discussions focused on the many challenges that exist in increasing women’s political participation. Daughters of the Vote  was used as a case study for best practices. The study also highlighted the importance of both women and youth leadership and the need for their active and equal participation at all levels.

In Delhi, a discussion on “South Asian Young Women Leadership Conclave” built excellent connections with key decision makers and influencers in the government and civil society including organisations such as Breakthrough, Women’s Feature Service, UN Women, the National Commission for Women, Women Development Cell – Miranda House, and Delhi University.

Empowerment brings results

Delegates were left feeling empowered, enriched, and energized by the discussions. They are preparing joint papers for publication and are collaborating to build a Tool Kit for Basic Gender Training. The Maldives delegate will be working with the Maldives Democracy Network to deliver more sessions on women’s rights and gender at the Democracy Café, a project funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. 

Committed to results

Canada is a champion for gender equality and the rights of women in girls in South Asia, and around the world.  The conversations and actions born out of these #FemParl events will continue with more events planned for the year ahead.  Stay tuned!

Follow the events and join the online conversation at #FemParl.

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