Amelia Kinahoi Siamomua spoke about the importance of leaving no one behind in legislation or budgets. The Gender Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat uses gender mainstreaming to support women's leadership and economic empowerment, it works with every stakeholder to end violence against women and girls, and works on gender and climate change.Amelia spoke about levelling the law for all and building capacity through investment, making it easier for women to seek justice on issues such as gender-based violence. The Commonwealth Secretariat has employed legal experts and drafters to work with parliamentarians and other stakeholders to facilitate fair and equitable access to justice on projects which will be facilitated in East Africa and The Gambia.
Gender Sensitive Scrutiny in the UK and around the Commonwealth
In the UK, there are existing embedded laws designed to prevent discrimination against women; however this does not stop discrimination occurring, for example in the workplace or with disparity of pay. The panel spoke about the importance of the work of committees and the work of the opposition in applying pressure to fight this inequality.
Hon Fatoumatta Njai MP, Opposition Member of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee in The Gambia, focused on the work that has been undertaken and continues to be implemented in The Gambia to protect women and girls' rights in areas including child marriage and female genital mutilation, to build the capacity of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee which has new powers under the new standing orders to scrutinise budgets, and to open up parliament and leadership positions to women.
Tara Cheyne MP, Government Whip for the Australian Capital Territory, spoke about the trajectory of gender sensitive budgeting in Australia. She highlighted the cultural shift caused by the first Women's Budget Statement which was introduced at federal government level in 1984 and required government departments and agencies to outline how their policies impacted women.