Left to right: Associate Minister for Women for Samoa Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana Gidlow, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith and State Minister for Women and Children Affairs in Bangladesh Dr Shirin Chaudhury
4 July 2012
The refined framework will assess and contribute to the effectiveness of policies, laws and practice in promoting gender equality
The high-level group which oversees progress on the Commonwealth’s gender equality targets has agreed on a clear set of markers for measuring efforts in member countries.
The Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action Monitoring Group, which is made up of ministers, senior officials and representatives of civil society organisations met in London from 30 June to 2 July.
The refined framework will contribute to the effectiveness of policies, laws and systems in promoting gender equality, with a view to learning from past practice. Countries will also be able to report on national budgetary resources available for gender work.
Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana Gidlow, Samoa’s Associate Minister for Women, said that her country was looking forward to collaborating with the Commonwealth and member countries in carrying forward issues important for women. These include supporting women’s business ventures by providing financial opportunities.
“On violence against women, we want to ensure that it is not just policies that are put down but also that they are implemented at grassroots level,” she added.
The Associate Minister was representing Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, the Samoan minister and new chair of the monitoring group. At the meeting, she called on the Commonwealth to promote the women’s agenda at meetings of Heads of Government and finance ministers, stressing that gender equality is essential for sustainable development.
The monitoring group assesses progress on the Commonwealth’s 10-year Plan of Action for Gender Equality (2005-2015) under four areas: democracy, peace and conflict; human rights and law; poverty eradication and economic empowerment; and HIV/AIDS.
The group stressed the importance of working in partnership with local and regional organisations to ensure that gender goals are socially and culturally contextualised.
Members also resolved to work more closely with civil society groups in the run-up to the triennial Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting next June. The conference will take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, under the leadership of Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, State Minister, Women and Children Affairs.
Dr Chaudhury, who is former Chair of the Monitoring Group, said Bangladesh was looking forward to hosting the meeting and that preparations were going well.
“It will be a very important event because we will have all the women’s ministers on one platform to share the common issues relating to gender equality and the empowerment of women,” she said.
Members of the Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action Monitoring Group who attended were:
Dr Shirin Chaudhury
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women and Social Action
Comfort F Oladipo
Chief Women Development Officer, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs
Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana Gidlow
Associate Minister for Women
Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago–Elisara
Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development
Trinidad and Tobago
Director, Gender Affairs Division
Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development
Strategic Analysis and International Unit, Government Equalities Office
Civil Society Representative
Executive Director, Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI)