Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Dialogue for Women in local government networks

23 March 2021


In a month, which includes both International Women’s Day and Commonwealth Day, CLGF is delighted to be hosting a key event for women in local government, in partnership with Gender Links.

The meeting will bring together members of the networks established for women, and young women in local government, for a meaningful exchange of experiences. We will hear how women councillors, and aspiring young women, can effectively campaign for 50/50 representation of women in local government; the lessons learned in the quest for equal representation of men and women in local government; how we can strengthen the networks for even more successful campaigning; and what key steps the networks, local government associations and central government should take for the 50/50 campaign to succeed.

Peer learning on increased representation 

The webinar on 25 March is a peer learning opportunity about increasing women’s representation in local government through the 50/50 campaign. Topics coming under the spotlight include:


  • the Jo Cox Project;
  • experiences in implementing the 50/50 campaign to increase the participation of women in local government, Zimbabwe: and
  • updates on network activities in Eswatini, Lesotho, and Zambia.


CLGF, in partnership with Gender Links, is implementing the Connecting the dots: Local actions for women political and economic empowerment project, which runs from October 2019 to September 2021. It seeks to strengthen the political and economic empowerment of women and girls in Southern Africa, by increasing the number of women holding senior positions in local government in the target countries (Eswatini, Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe) by 15%, and the individual monthly incomes of targeted women entrepreneurs by 30%, against the baseline.  

To date, four Women in Local Government Forum (WLGF) networks and four Young Women in Local Government (YWLG) networks have been established by the project and are currently being supported to develop strategies for increasing participation of women in local government. One of the key strategies adopted by the networks is the advocacy for 50/ 50 representation of women and men in local government.

Milestone in equal representation

In December 2020, the WLGF network in Zimbabwe, with the support of Gender Links and CLGF, achieved an important milestone towards their journey to achieving 50/50 representation. As a result of implementing a carefully crafted lobbying and advocacy initiative, the President and the Cabinet agreed to extend the existing 30% quota of women representation in parliament to local government. This will form the basis of this dialogue session, to facilitate learning from the experiences of the WLGF in Zimbabwe. Discussions will also enable the Eswatini, Lesotho and Zambia WLGF to share their plans more widely.  

Facilitating the webinar, CLGF's Deputy Secretary-General, Lucy Slack, will introduce a host of impressive women politicians, all playing an important role in their respective networks: Cllr Idirashe Dongo, Zimbabwe; Cllr Notando Dhlamini, Eswatini; Cllr Mapuleng Mosooana', Lesotho; and Chilando Chitangala, Zambia. 



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