Asian Women Parliamentarian Caucus (AWPC) - Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia/Singapore
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.
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
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
- Gender Mainstreaming in Policy Making
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Women’s political participation in parliaments, and more...
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.
In 2017, AWPC convened again in Singapore to discuss "The World in 2030: Women, Development and Policy" with a focus on addressing "The Future of Human Trafficking in Asia" with expert resource persons from the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) and the region. Invited members also presented "Arising Issues In Women, Development and Policy in Asia Pacific" at a panel discussion hosted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP). All in all, the discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) look to continue with a follow up meeting in July 2018.
In 2018, AWPC members met in Yangon to discuss "Women, Education and Economic Empowerment- Turning Actions into Progress". In this two day event our AWPC members met heads of business networks, women organizations and other representative to discuss about the economic empowerment of women in the region. Our AWPC members learned about the work of other stakeholders in the region and discussed on how they could work together to reinforce synergies and increase impact in the region.