Common Critical Points for Action
Drawn From Workshop Outputs of
the Women Members of Parliament

WORKSHOP 1: Transforming Politics and Leadership

1. Good Governance

a. Promote and reinforce values of public service, clean government and stewardship, i.e., equity; equality; social justice; transparency and people oriented governance free from corruption.
b. Strengthen party system and institution building as support systems for running a good government.
c. Give people easy access to public officials and ensure effective service delivery to constituents.
d. Establish a mechanism for the performance review of legislators as well as those in the other branches of government.

2. Networking and Solidarity Building Among Women

a. National

1) Promote solidarity among women MPs across parties on specific issues.
2) Identify allies who can help push for these issues and build networks, alliances and coalitions.

b. International

1) Encourage women MPs to take an active part in international affairs and participate in regional forums.
2) Initiate/continue networking with other women MPs from other countries towards forming a regional group.

3. Building Political Support for Women

a. Develop circle of influence and alliances among parliamentarians regarding various issues.
b. Promote alliance building and partnership between the government (all branches) and non-government organizations (NGOs).
c. Establish support groups for women politicians within and outside politics.
d. Get donors to support conferences/dialogue among women MPs to share their experiences and insights, strategize for political action, and build networks.
4. Electoral Reform and Voter Education

a. Advocate for continuing voter/political education i.e., their rights and duties.
b. Push for electoral reforms and a free independent electoral commission to supervise clean elections.
c. Develop mechanism for transparency in political fund raising.
5. Increase Women's Political Participation
a. Political Education
1) Raise women's and girls' consciousness on the need to be politically active either as leaders or supporters.
2) Develop a mentoring scheme for women politicians and to prepare the next generation of leaders.
b. Women in Leadership Positions
1) Influence policy and ensure that women come into decision-making positions. Women need to get into "non-traditional" committees such as finance, foreign affairs and defense.
2) Set up training camps or special courses for new MPs (e.g., training for lobbying and negotiation, learning strategies of constructive engagements with all groups and sectors).
3) Develop confidence of women candidates and politicians.
4) Equip and educate themselves regularly with new technologies, current national and international affairs as well as trends.
5) Share their parliamentary experiences i.e., best practices, unfavorable experiences, lessons learned and other needs with regard to legislative work and governance, on a continuing basis. This can be initiated by CAPWIP and other regional organizations through internet (e.g., message boards or e-groups), publications and conferences.

c. Constituency Building

1) Strengthen and build capacities of women organizations.
2) Promote the education and economic independence of women.
3) Analyze the social impact of policies and help constituency understand implications of government legislation or policies.
d. Affirmative Action and Quota System
1) Advocate reservation for women as necessary (for a limited period) when there is serious discrimination.
2) Review the impact of the quota system in the Asia-Pacific region.
6. Gender Mainstreaming
a. Develop gender sensitivity of male and female MPs and government officials through GST and other related activities.
b. Institutionalize women's participation in country delegations in all regional conferences.
c. Assess and follow through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) action on gender mainstreaming.
d. Advocate setting up of support systems and facilities for women politicians e.g. child-care, breast-feeding areas, etc.
7. Maximizing Media for Political Advocacy
a. Develop media skills through training and mentoring.
b. Seek allies in media to promote discussion and action on issues being pushed by women MPs.

 

WORKSHOP 2: Country and regional actions to review and reframe policies to manage globalization

1. Education and Information Dissemination Regarding Globalization

a. Women MPs need to educate themselves regarding globalization and new economic trends as well as economic, trade and financial policies and their differential impact-- in order to be able to understand the issues involved and propose alternatives that maximize the benefit to women and minimize its negative effects.
b. Set up database on domestic industries including the mapping of home-based workers and monitoring abuses of women in factories.
c. Make available data on the impact of globalization in countries within the region; ensure that the data is analyzed with a gender perspective so that MPs and their constituencies have a better understanding of its differential effects and clear up misconceptions that lead to emotional discussions.
d. Use media, including the Internet, to publicize issues and make available information regarding globalization.
2. Areas for Legislative Action

a. Review national policies in the context of globalization to strengthen survival and competitiveness, sustainability and growth of local industries while ensuring the presence of social safety nets and socio-economic security for workers particularly women (e.g., provide for greater family care support services).
b. Ensure that investment policies have gender, environmental and social audits.
c. Address legislative policies to strengthen fair business terms that promote community development.
d. Develop national policy on information technology (IT) use.
e. Get government to allocate resources for skills training of women as well as providing them with access to technology. Ensure that adequate budget is appropriated for this.
f. Ratify conventions on rights of women, laborers (including home-based workers) children, and the environment.
g. Introduce measures to protect intellectual property rights including:
1) Copyright patenting law,
2) Acknowledging the country of origin of products, bodies of knowledge, etc.
3) Laws to identify and codify traditional knowledge
4) Inventory of natural resources including indigenous species.

3. Networking and Alliance Building to Manage Globalization

a. National Level Action

1) Promote and support organizing of women workers as well as women's cooperatives and networks.
2) Strengthen skills and technology of home producers by identifying business strategies and training programs in response to globalization and a knowledge-based economy.
3) Provide institutional support for women's products and encourage patronage of domestic products.
4) Promote the adoption of sustainable lifestyles with MPs setting the example of simple consumption and sustainable lifestyle.
5) Protect and strengthen traditional values and practices.
b. International Level Action

1) Develop and strengthen regional cooperation to create business connections and alternative markets for locally produced goods.
2) Initiate bilateral agreements for exchange of skills and experience.
3) Conduct regional discussions and fora to enhance MPs understanding and capacity to mange globalization.
4) Advocate for international agencies to compile data on the impact of globalization and make this available to all.
5) Get the international community, particularly donors/multilateral and bilateral agencies, to pay more attention to needs of developing countries e.g., providing soft loans and/or long term loans for health programs, infrastructure, human resource development; and assistance for skills training of women.
6) Make it the responsibility of developed nations to pay for environmental damages and to provide green technology (biotechnology) to developing countries at affordable rates.
7) Secure the rights of developing countries to their indigenous plant species (biodiversity)-- in collecting, recording and developing this including protection for women's traditional knowledge e.g., herbal medicine
8) Initiate regional effort at codifying traditional knowledge.
9) Support the alliance of women and international pressure groups in countering violence against women and trafficking of women and children.
10) Ensure women's representation in international conferences and conventions on globalization, trade and finance, etc.

 

WORKSHOP 3: Country and regional actions to review and reframe policies on conflict resolution

1. Changing Cultural Values and Attitudes
a. Advocate for a culture of peace within families, schools, workplaces, communities and among countries
b. Promote the values of:
1) Respect and tolerance for differences among individuals and cultures
2) Openness
3) Non-violence
4) Respect for national sovereignty
5) Peaceful co-existence
c. Work to change society's view on domestic violence and violence against women (VAW)-- to one of non-tolerance
2. National Campaign on Peace Building

a. Build national consensus on peace through dialogues and public forums.
b. Establish a Peace Institute that will spearhead awareness campaigns and programs on peace building.
c. Integrate peace education in schools at all levels in the textbooks, curriculum, and school activities. Educate people about human rights and women's rights.
d. Empower women to be mediators for peace.
e. Establish new ways of negotiation that promotes a win/win solution.
f. Network with various women's groups, NGOs and peace movements at various levels to facilitate mobilization/concerted action.
g. Create a social support system that encourages communities to speak out against violence and its perpetrators.
h. Encourage women's reporting of violence by government agencies, NGOs, networks.
i. Conduct gender sensitivity training for the police, prosecution and judicial personnel
j. Set up a national database on violence particularly on violence against women and children. Establish an Internet and/or media watch as a mechanism for information dissemination.

3. Areas for Legislative Action

a. Propose legislation to protect women and children from violence as well as measures to make it illegal to "buy" or "commodify" women (e.g., mail-order brides, white slavery, etc.).
b. Advocate for judicial reforms to facilitate the filing and resolution of cases of violence against women and children as well as ethnic violence.
c. Support measures to make women economically independent.
d. Speak out against nuclear arms testing, biological and chemical warfare, and land mines.
e. Work for inclusion of women in peace negotiations at local, national and international levels (e.g., quota for women representation in delegations).
f. Protest against the situation of women in armed conflict, including the use of rape as a weapon of war, and other crisis conditions like areas controlled by Taliban.
g. Advocate for the strict enforcement of humanitarian laws by government.

4. Building International Solidarity and Cooperation
1) Open channels of communication among countries and regions-- including regular dialogues and information sharing, as a mechanism for preventive diplomacy.
2) Strengthen treaty of unity and cooperation and regional bodies such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Advocate for women's active participation in regional bodies such as these.
3) Encourage continuous communication and roundtable conferences among women parliamentarians from different countries.
4) Develop linkages with World Women Parliamentarians for Peace, disarmament commissions, Women Waging Peace and other NGOs.
5) Urge the UN to redefine their strategy and role in peacekeeping operations.
6) Advocate for the consistent inclusion of women in delegations to the UN as well as in peace initiatives and negotiations.

 


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Dated: 25May2000