Young Women of Saint Lucia Take Their Seats in Parliament
On June 27, 2022, young women from across Saint Lucia served as parliamentarians and parliamentary officials in historic, all-women simulated parliamentary debates of the House of Assembly and the Senate of the Parliament of Saint Lucia. These Sittings marked the culmination of the Young Women in Leadership – Saint Lucia (YWiL SLU) programme organized by ParlAmericas, the Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) Regional Secretariat and Saint Lucia Chapter, and the Parliament of Saint Lucia, in which more than 35 young women leaders between the ages of 18-25 from across the country participated.
The YWiL program supports young women in preparing for future leadership by providing training and education on political leadership, encouraging consideration of leadership and service from a transformational perspective, and creating a space to foster supportive communities of women and other allies. In line with these goals, YWiL SLU participants completed virtual and in-person training sessions throughout May and June that focused on the programme’s core components: transformational leadership, gender equality and inclusive decision-making, parliamentary procedure, and strategies for effective leadership. The sessions were guided by distinguished facilitators and presenters, including parliamentarians, civil society leaders, practitioners from various fields, and other leaders from Saint Lucia and across the region.
During the YWiL SLU Parliamentary Sittings, participants applied their learning as they debated a motion that called for the government to develop an action plan to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in preparing for a changing economy. The motion was considered by both chambers, with participants debating the best strategies to achieve the goal of addressing gender inequality in the economy, drawing on their expertise and research and in alignment with their specific role in the session. Following the program’s conclusion, participants are also encouraged to share the learning and skills gained within their communities.
YWiL SLU is the latest in a series of such activities being organised in the Caribbean, forming a core component of the ParlAmericas-CIWiL joint project to advance women’s political participation in the Caribbean, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. Two YWiL initiatives have been hosted previously under the project: in Trinidad and Tobago in February-March 2020 and in Antigua and Barbuda in October-November 2020.