4 Jun 2004

Commonwealth parliamentarians discuss gender equality

11:28 am on 4 June 2004

Commonwealth parliamentarians meeting in Fiji this week to discuss progress towards gender equality considered pushing for sanctions against countries that failed to meet set goals.

The Commonwealth Ministers Responsible for Women's Affairs have drawn up a new Plan of Action covering the next ten years and want to see improvements in gender equality in four critical areas.

These are peace, democracy and conflict; human rights and the law; poverty eradication and economic development; and HIV/AIDs.

New Zealand's representative at the conference, Women's Affairs Minister Ruth Dyson, says they decided against pointing the finger at those countries which did not comply.

"The countrys who've done nothing for five years coming into a forum where they feel a bit embarrassed and ashamed and even if they're reprimanded it isn't actually going to change the practice. We have to have much more regular engagement, reporting, monitoring and support for implementation. the governments have given thie committments to progressing these issues. We have to work together to make sure that the delivery happens on the ground."