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​4th BIMR CWP Conference 2017



The National Assembly for Wales hosted the annual British, Islands and Mediterranean Region Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference (BIMR CWP) on 6-7 April at the Senedd in Cardiff.

Delegates attended from Cyprus, Gibraltar, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Malta, Northern Ireland, Scotland and both houses of parliament in London.

The conference was an opportunity to share best practice and experience between legislatures with the objective of working towards better and more inclusive representation in public life.

This year's theme was 'Women in the Economy' and delegates heard a series of talks on issues including:

  • The role of government in promoting women in the economy;

  • The Diversity of Women in the Economy; and

  • Minding the Gap:  Women in Construction.

    The aim of the conference was to collaborate, challenge and inspire change – to identify the barriers preventing women from fulfilling their potential, identify gaps in policy and strategy and share good practice.

    Please see below for a copy of the Conference Report and Handbook:

    Conference Report 2017

    Conference Handbook 

Plenary Sessions

Please see below for Video links to the Conference itself, including Plenary One, Two and Three.

Plenary 1
Part 1: Setting the Scene: Women in the Welsh Economy

The below video shows the opening plenary session of the conference. The discussion is chaired by Joyce Watson AM with Cerys Furlong and Natasha Davies (Chwarae Teg) as speakers. The presentations are followed by comments and questions from delegates to the panel which highlight the need for flexible working. 

​Part 2: Education and Training

In the second part of Plenary 1, speaker Christine Atkinson (Head of Women's Entrepreneurship Hub, University of South Wales) highlights the importance of the Women's Entrepreneurship Hub, given the increasing participation of women in entrepreneurship and their vital contribution to the economy. Also followed by comments and questions.


Plenary 2
Part 1: The Role of Government in Promoting Women in the Economy

The below video related to the second plenary session of the conference, again chaired by Joyce Watson AM. The speaker for Part 1 consisted of Jane Hutt AM and touched on matters such as Brexit and Pay Inequality.

​Part 2: Inspirational Local Business Women

Speakers Sophie and Hannah Pycroft (Spectrum Collections) and Jo Roberts (Fabulous Welshcakes) give inspiring speeches on how they have grown their businesses.


Plenary Session 3: The Diversity of Women in the Economy

The third and final plenary session was again chaired by Joyce Watson AM. Speakers included Helen Walbey (Diversity Chair, FSB UK), Maxine Barrett (Operations Director HOS Hire Ltd) and Laura Toscano (HR Leader, GE UK). The presentations are followed by comments and questions from delegates to the panel which acknowledged that job adverts can often have a gender bias and that language as much as imagery must be addressed. 



Further to the three plenary sessions that took place, three workshops were undertaken by delegates. These included:

Workshop A: 'Supporting Business to help Women Achieve and Prosper'


This workshop introduced Agile Nation 2, a programme delivered by Chwarae Teg to help women gain skills, confidence and knowledge needed to progress their career.

Workshop B: 'Minding the Gap'


This workshop demonstrated some of the innovations playing an increasingly important role in the world of construction and civil engineering. Skill gaps were mentioned within certain industries, increasing the importance of women's participation in all sectors of the economy.

Interactive Workshop: 'Building Bridges'

A hands-on interactive session which saw delegates pull together to build a 12m long cable stayed bridge. Pictures of which can be seen below.



For further information regarding the Workshops and for a wider overview of the Conference, please see Conference Report 2017


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