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An exemplar for a modern democracy

10/02/2016

​Not only is Wales known for its culture, scenery, produce and artists, its reputation as an exemplar parliamentary democracy is growing across the world.

One area in particular that is held up as an example of best practice is its approach to the issue of equalities, and specifically the role of women in public life.

Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, has been leading her #POWiPL – Women in Public Life Campaign over the lifetime of this Assembly to encourage more women to get involved in public life in Wales.

That commitment to equalities has been recognised across the world and, in 2014, together with the cross-party Assembly Women's Caucus, she was invited to share experience in Wales with Iceland's parliament.

Ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March, Dame Rosemary has been invited to visit regional parliaments in South Africa and Lesotho to exchange ideas and share best practice in relation to women's representation and a progressive equalities agenda more generally.

She will also meet with Speakers of those parliaments following requests to provide technical assistance in terms of more general parliamentary approaches.

"It is an honour and privilege to represent the National Assembly for Wales and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in this way," Dame Rosemary said.

"It's important for us to promote Wales's growing reputation across the world as an exemplar modern democracy and share our experience and good practice.

"The fact that we are asked to do so demonstrates that the National Assembly is viewed as an example of good practice in many areas of parliamentary democracy.

"We have had several invitations from South Africa and Lesotho in the past to provide technical support to their regional parliaments. I am very pleased to be able to respond to that call.

"But it doesn't stop there. Last year the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly invited me to address a national women's conference in Belfast and some of our Assembly Members have been invited to Guernsey to address the Commonwealth Women's Parliamentarian Conference this week, and the Deputy Speaker of Papua New Guinea's Parliament has recently requested a closer working relationship with the Assembly following work that our ICT team has done with them.

"I am particularly proud of the work we have done through my #POWiPL campaign and the numerous requests from international parliaments seeking to learn from us should make us all very proud."

"I was delighted that the cross-party Assembly Women's Caucus decided to arrange a Plenary debate for International Women's Day in March. These activities demonstrate the Assembly's continued commitment to equality In line with the Assembly Commission's strategic objective to promote Wales, they also illustrate that our standing as a distinct, innovative and progressive international legislature has grown strongly during the last five years."

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