The speakers at South Asian Regional Women Conference on Tuesday discussed ways and means for a collective platform to raise voice for inclusion of women community leaders in the decision-making bodies.
They said that inclusion of women community leaders will lead to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals especially in regard with women rights. They demanded women representation in peace process and also called for recognition of care industry based on unpaid and invisible work of women.
The delegates were speaking at the Inaugural Session of a two-day Regional Conference on South Asian Women Alliance of Community Leaders which was attended by women community leaders from all eight SAARC member states, civil society representatives, relevant senior officials and diplomats. The conference is supported by AAWAZ voice and accountability program, working especially around issues concerning women and other excluded groups.
Women Community Leaders from the region come to share their learning and experiences in taking the development agenda at the community level forward and discussing the mechanisms and processes to contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs.
Speaking at the Inaugural Session, the Chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Pakistan Khawar Mumtaz welcomed the idea of a community leaders’ alliance.
“It’s a much needed platform for women from South Asian region as we share a lot of commonalities’ she remarked adding that with such initiative we will be able to turn our dream of gender equality into reality with collective efforts.
She hoped that the alliance would take forward the agenda of a women inclusive South Asia in a vibrant manner while terming it as a major milestone for women movements across South Asia.
Chandni Joshi, leading women rights activist from Nepal was of the opinion that this alliance would pave way for bringing in the voice of women of the region who have contributed in different fields of life both at home and outside world.
‘The women of South Asia resolve that the struggle for women rights is entering a decisive phase as women are together for a collective good which will result in better future for our generations’ she remarked.
Dunya Maumoon, Minister of State for Health of Maldives, while addressing the conference said that this is a time to celebrate our achievements which are enormous adding that her country is smaller in size and population but a progressive one for the implementation of women friendly policies and laws.
‘Maldives stood on 45th in global gender equality ranking’ she said Maldives is ready to support and carry forward the agenda of community leaders alliance and gave assurance for taking up the recommendations on the highest level of government in her country.
These women are part of a South Asia alliance that recently came together under the name of South Asia Women Alliance (SAWA) of Community Leaders. The Alliance, is a South Asian regional endeavour to help widen the space for South Asian Women Community Leaders’ voice, visibility and agency in development and socio-political discourse and action, especially within regional for a such as the SAARC.
The Alliance aims to connect South Asian community women in positions of influence in local administration/decision-making/community representation, in order to develop a culture of collective consultative action, collaborative advocacy and peer learning for deepening democratisation, while leveraging on SAARC as a regional level policy formulating mechanism.
Imran, Myra. Ways to inclusion of women community leaders in decision-making bodies discussed. The News, January 18, 2017.