The Speaker of the Mauritius National Assembly, Mrs Santi Bai Hanoomanjee has recently announced that the final draft of the Strategic Framework for the setting up of a Parliamentary Gender Caucus in Mauritius will be presented in two weeks.
Hamoomanjee made the announcement at the presentation of, and discussions on, the Zero Draft of the Strategic Framework for the setting up of a Parliamentary Gender Caucus in Mauritius. She also stated that the Australian High Commissioner, Ms Susan Coles, has expressed the readiness of the Australian Government to help Mauritius in the setting up of the Gender Caucus.
It would be recalled that the Office of the Speaker organised, on 25 January, a meeting aimed at defining and elaborating the model of a Gender Caucus in the Mauritian context. Following the meeting, a Zero Draft was prepared by Dr Sonia Palmieri, an expert in gender and political participation who has worked with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations. She has been appointed by the United Nations Development Programme for the formulation of the Strategic Framework for Mauritius.
It was agreed that the Standing Orders of Parliament has to be amended to provide for the establishment of a formal Caucus; the leadership which will consist of a president and a vice-president will be given, in the first instance, to the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, respectively; membership will include members from both sides of the House, designated by their political party; Ministers and MPs who took part in the discussions for the formulation of the Strategic Framework will, de facto, be members of the first Caucus; and the priority areas of the Caucus will be to ensure that gender equality policy and legislation are effectively implemented by all ministries and departments.
The necessity for the Caucus to reach out to citizens so that they know of its existence, purpose and initiatives was also highlighted. Accordingly, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Ministers and MPs were unanimous in their stance that any report by the Caucus be circulated in the National Assembly and be made public.
It is noted that according to data compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union on the basis of information provided by National Parliaments by 1st December 2015 on the latest ranking on the percentage of women in National Parliaments, Mauritius ranks 110th out of 190 countries. The number of women in Parliament in Mauritius stands at eight out of the 69 MPs, representing 11.6%


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