Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus of Sri Lanka who are on a study visit to New Zealand, met the former Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern and Helen Clark, recently (27).
Empowering women leadership in politics and promoting gender diversity were discussed at length with the Prime Ministers. Jacinda Ardern, who held the position of Prime Minister of New Zealand from 2017 to 2023, shared her experience of leading her country in the face of the economic and political crises as well as the Covid-19 pandemic during her tenure. Especially the attention of women Parliamentarians was drawn to matters such as the policies created to provide opportunities for women who gave up work to take care of children to enter the job market again, measures taken to create wage equality, paid parental leave in case of childbirth, reducing child poverty etc.
Also, Helen Clark, the first female Prime Minister of New Zealand, spoke about her political experience to the Caucus. She expressed her views on the measures taken during her tenure to empower women, including civil marriage reforms and encouraging women to save money for retirement.
A cultural event was also organized here representing the ‘Maori’ community in New Zealand to welcome the Sri Lankan Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus.
Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Dr. Seetha Arambepola, Rohini Kumari Wijeratne, Pavithradevi Vanniarachchi, Geetha Samanmalee Kumarasinghe, Thalatha Athukorala, Kokila Gunawardena, Mudita Prishanthi, Rajika Wickramasinghe, Manjula Dissanayake, Dr. Harini Amarasuriya as well as the Secretary General of Parliament Kushani Rohanadeera, Assistant Director (Administration) Indira Dissanayake and Media Manager of Parliament Nimmi Hathiyaldeniya were present on this occasion.
This study visit was organized by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the aim of strengthening the measures taken by the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus for the advancement of Sri Lankan women, including the empowerment of women’s leadership in the country’s politics and securing gender equality.