Kathmandu, January 29
South Asian Women Parliamentarian Dialogue began from yesterday in New Delhi and Colombo where parliamentarians from six countries, including Nepal, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are discussing gender issues.
Leading women parliamentarians from the six countries are scheduled to engage in a series of activities designed to forge links between these political leaders and raise awareness on gender equality as well as importance of women’s political and economic participation in the society.
A press statement issued here today by the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi said the dialogue was conceptualised by four Canadian missions in South Asia to bring together prominent women leaders to deliberate on gender equality, role of women in democracy, governance and international affairs.
The dialogue is being hosted by Women’s Feature Service, in partnership with the High Commission of Canada and is slated to end on February 2.
According to the statement, Member of Parliament from Nepal Chhaya Sharma (Pant), MP from India Meenakshi Lekhi, MP and minister from Sri Lanka Chandrani Bandara Jayasinghe as well as MP from Afghanistan Naheed Farid are participating in the dialogue.
The statement said special guest Kathleen Wynne, premier of the Canadian Province of Ontario, will join the delegates for an interaction with students on the theme of ‘Empowering women through skills and economic independence’ on February 1.
It further said the delegates will interact with women rights organisations, think tanks, students and the media on topics ranging from the impact of education and skills in empowering women to the role of women in international affairs in Delhi on February 1 and 2.
The delegates are also scheduled to visit India’s Parliament. They will tour the Sri Lankan Parliament on January 29 and Colombo on January 30, it added.
The statement further read that the protection and advancement of women’s rights was central to Canada’s domestic and foreign policy and the country was committed to the view that gender equality not only falls under human rights, but also is an essential component of sustainable development, social justice, peace and security.
“Increased women’s leadership in governance structures, economy and civil society is key to achieving gender equality,” it said.
A version of this article appears in print on January 30, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.