BGIPU, in collaboration with Professor Sarah Childs (on secondment to the UK House of Commons and Professor of Politics and Gender at the University of Bristol), convened a one-day conference on 19 November at the UK Parliament to explore key perspectives on making the UK House of Commons a more gender sensitive Parliament. The conference was opened by the Speaker of the UK House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, and brought together international parliamentarians, academics and UK members and parliamentary staff to hear comparative experiences and debate how a more gender sensitive House of Commons might be best achieved.
The Annual Report of the BGIPU for 2015 has been published on 10 November in advance of the 2 December Annual General Meeting. The Annual Report highlights that in 2015 BGIPU has received delegations to the UK Parliament from five parliaments and sent delegations to six countries. There have also been shorter visits by overseas counterparts from nine countries to Westminster, UK participation in IPU Assemblies in Hanoi and Geneva and support for other major inter-parliamentary events including the 4th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.
The 133rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly was convened in Geneva, Switzerland from 17 to 21 October bringing together nearly 700 parliamentarians from 135 parliaments, with 47 Speakers and some 220 women MPs. With the Parliament of Fiji re-joining the IPU, the Assembly saw the total IPU membership increase to 167 member parliaments. The key theme of the General Debate at the 133rd Assembly was, “The moral and economic imperative for fairer, smarter and more humane migration” on the difficult challenges facing many governments in addressing the current refugee crisis in Europe stemming from developments in the Middle East and North Africa.