Commonwealth Local Government Forum

International Women's Day 2020

08 March 2020

On International Women's Day 2020, CLGF sends greetings and solidarity to all our members and colleagues across the Commonwealth. Whether you are in a local council, a national or regional local government association, a government ministry or a stakeholder organisation or donor; and regardless of whether you are a woman or a man. 


Sustainable Development Goal #5 is a priority for CLGF and, in particular, empowering more women to play a meaningful role in the planning and decision making of their communities by getting involved in local government. Equality and gender parity need to start at the heart of our communities and cascade out to all other sections of our lives. That is why CLGF was delighted to support the Commonwealth Secretariat International Women's Day event on 6 March. 


Accelerating gender equality


The meeting called for an end to gender inequality by 2030 so that every girl can have the same opportunities as boys. Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland joined a gathering of leaders, celebrities, academics and activists in London to discuss ways to accelerate the progress.


The Commonwealth Secretary-General said: “Our Commonwealth Charter speaks of gender equality and women’s empowerment as being essential components of human development and basic human rights. Advancing women’s rights, the education of girls and their participation in the workforce are critical prerequisites for effective and sustainable development. On average, for every £1 invested in a business, those with all-male boards show a loss of two per cent, while those with two or more women yield a return of six per cent."  


Toolkit supporting training and campaigns


She added: "But many countries need help to make it happen. So today, we are consulting on a toolkit that will support country-level efforts with training programmes and campaigns to accelerate gender equality.”


Lucy Slack, CLGF Deputy Secretary-General applauded the campaign and the declaration of March as Commonwealth Gender Equality Month to sharpen the focus on the need to accelerate the rate at which action is taken by our member nations to achieve gender equality.


Commonwealth Women in Local Government 


She said: "It is vital that women play an active role in the leadership of our communities. That is why we established the Commonwealth Women in Local Government Network (ComWLG) to support women in their campaigns for election and then once they become councillors.” 


CLGF has a number of projects in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific that focus on local economic development, focusing on helping women entrepreneurs and as a way of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To support this, there must be recognition across the whole of society, in the private and public sectors, with inclusion for this in the national legal frameworks.


Diamonds are a woman's best friend


The Commonwealth International Women's Day event continued with a new film that follows Livia Firth, co-founder of Eco-Age, to Botswana, where she meets women who have improved their living standards by working in Botswana’s diamond industry. Over 80 cents of each dollar from Botswana’s diamonds go to funding measures to reduce poverty, empower women, deliver quality education and provide free health care. 


The First lady of Botswana Neo Masisi told the audience said: “Botswana’s economy transformed from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country in Africa where the discovery of diamonds has played a pivotal role in creating sustainable growth and development in Botswana’s livelihoods.Botswana has managed where many others have failed to translate the potential resources below ground into enduring value above ground.”



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