While we were marching for justice for women across Australia last month, the Australian Greens were also working for gender equity measures with our sister parties in Asia.
By Michelle Sheather
In March, the Australian Greens International Development Committee (IDC) organised two groundbreaking virtual trainings on gender equity.
The Green Party of Nepal is one of the older Green parties in Asia, and the second national party we have supported with a two-day gender equity training. The aim of the training is to build female leadership within their party; to implement policies on women and gender equity; and to set goals for the next two years that the party can implement.
Eighteen current and future women leaders of the Nepali Greens party met outside Kathmandu for two days to build their women’s network and to address topics from organising effective meetings and public speaking to political strategy and dealing with the negatives on the campaign trail and within your party. As an outcome of the training, the party intends to increase the party executive to 60 percent women members.
This is the second national gender equity training we have been involved in implementing. The only other party in Asia, the Pacific, or Middle East Greens that has a majority of female leadership is the India Greens party, which was the pilot program for the gender equity program eighteen months ago. These trainings and subsequent initiatives are having a real impact.
To grow the outreach of the program further, in late March we held a ‘train the trainers’ program with four women representatives from each of the Green parties of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Marama Davidson, the Co-Parliamentary Leader of the Aotearoa New Zealand Greens, was our keynote speaker, addressing issues of how we treat our environment and how this relates to our treatment of women and racism.
It is important we have the support of the male presidents and leadership in these parties prior to setting up the trainings. We work closely with the Asia Pacific Greens Federation Women’s Network (APGFWN) on these initiatives, as well as a mentoring program for women across the region. Two trainers from the APGFWN coordination team from the Mongolian and South Korean Green parties were also trained to take this initiative across the network.
An advanced gender equity training for women who are active in APGFWN for some years is planned for later in 2021. They in turn will develop national training programs for women within their own Green parties in countries ranging from Japan to Indonesia to Lebanon.
Trainers for these initiatives had previously been from the Green parties of Nepal and India. With these initiatives we have expanded from three trainers to 20 this year. This is seen as a watershed for the parties, future leadership and empowering women in our region.
If you would like to support such work and become an expert member of the Australian Greens International Development Committee, annual applications are currently open here.
Michelle Sheather is the Australian Greens International Development Coordinator.