Women’s participation in politics is essential to ensure policy making is more inclusive and the needs and concerns of women are better represented, says U.K.’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality Joanna Roper.
In India last week to attend the Raisina Dialogue, Ms. Roper also met officials of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to discuss possible India-U.K. collaboration on gender equality issues, school and college students and British businesses operating in India, with whom she held talks on tackling sexual harassment in the garments sector.
She advocates for a greater role for women in conflict resolution to ensure long-lasting peace. “Supporting women and girls’ meaningful mobilisation and participation in political life, mediation, conflict prevention, peace-building and in post-conflict processes to rebuild their countries and communities is essential to building lasting peace and stability. The U.K. will pursue diplomatic policies at multilateral and bilateral level to influence and transform the political environment in fragile and conflict-affected States to enable and encourage the participation of women in decision-making and support programme initiatives to enable women to play leadership roles,” Ms. Roper said in an interview with The Hindu .
Ms. Roper, appointed in February 2017, is the U.K.’s first Special Envoy for Gender Equality. Her role involves visiting different countries to work on domestic, diplomatic, development and defence issues. “Women account for a mere 2% of mediators, 8% negotiators and 5% witnesses to peace processes. But they make a real difference and ensure peace negotiations stick — 60% of such negotiations are less likely to fail and 35% more likely to last 15 years or more. There is really strong evidence that if you bring women together, everyone benefits.”
The U.K. government’s work on gender equality in India includes ensuring women’s participation in the labour force. This includes training 35,000 garment workers on their legal rights and reporting mechanisms on sexual harassment at the workplace and helping over 12 million women access credit to build livelihoods.