Asian Women Parliamentarian Caucus (AWPC)

Women, Policy and Political Leadership

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AWPC Meeting 2013 with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Background

Democratic development cannot take place without equal participation of women in all spheres of life, especially politics. As such in lieu of the need to promote female political leadership training and empowerment in Asia, the Regional Programme Dialogue Asia office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Singapore is committed to pursuing programmes to narrow the political gender gap.

Regional networks help to build on existing strategic knowledge and solidarity systems, especially for countries that lack adequate or any representation of women in politics. Women caucuses also help to unite women across party lines, offer opportunities to mainstream gender issues through legislation and provide oversight of government action in the work of parliament. The women’s caucus is also a platform to inform and encourage parliamentarians to use and benefit from the laws passed in their respective countries for stronger enforcement. In most instances, women’s caucuses do not receive parliamentary support such as financial resources or the meeting venues to organise.


Objectives

With the support of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a network of 40 Asian women parliamentarians have met annually since 2011 to promote, strengthen and develop female political leadership in the their respective countries through policy discussions and capacity building programmes. The AWPC, which was formally established in 2014 via a regional conference in Singapore, aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Promote more robust engagements in policy issues by encouraging regional discussions on policies impacting women's leadership in Asia
  • Strengthen capacities of individual parliamentarians through networking, plenary sessions and skills upgrading workshops
  • Identify leadership challenges faced by female parliamentarians in Asia and provide adequate support through leadership training and policy workshops


Policy Focus

The meetings in the form of dialogue programmes and/or study trips, have also strategically addressed thematic policy concerns such as:

  • Migration and Human Trafficking
  • Anti-Corruption
  • Gender Mainstreaming in Policy Making
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Women’s political participation in parliaments, and more...


Past Programmes

In 2011, KAS Berlin and the Multinational Dialogue on Development Policy of KAS Brussels in conjunction with the KAS regional office in Singapore organised the inaugural dialogue programme: “Strengthening the role of women in politics in Asia” with women in politics, kick-starting what was to become a series of annual conferences within this focus group.

In 2013, KAS regional office in Singapore organised an International Women Parliamentarian Conference in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, which was inaugurated by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and attended by female politicians from both Asia and Europe.

Similarly in 2014, KAS regional office in Singapore partnered with the Singapore Committee for UN Women in organising a regional conference in Singapore, attended by delegates from 18 different Asian countries. This conference concluded with the formalisation of a regional caucus for female parliamentarians in Asia called the Asian Women Parliamentarian Caucus (AWPC).

In 2015, the AWPC network met twice – once in Asia and once in Europe. The first meeting was held end June, in Taipei, Taiwan, where the discussion was centred on best practices in women’s empowerment – case of Taiwan – alongside the crucial discussion on the post-MDGs agenda. The second meeting in Brussels, Belgium took place in mid-November with the cooperation of KAS Brussels Multinational Dialogue on Development Policy and MEP Teresa Jimenez-Becerril’s office, where the focus was on “Women Empowerment in Asia and Europe”, with site visits to EU institutions, NATO and meetings with stakeholders involved in democracy building in Asia.

In 2016, the members met in Copenhagen, Denmark to continue the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) Agenda discussion at the 4th International Women Deliver Conference. Partnering with the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPFPD), AWPC parliamentarians also engaged in the daily parliamentary forums where policy advancements across the globe, in women's and children's health as well as gender equality were shared and discussed.

This year, the caucus looks to meet again in November to continue discussions and share strategies in strengthening political institutional building in Asia.