Pro Bono covered the release of Joanna Richards’ Gender Equality Advocacy Toolkit. The Toolkit is a guide to parliamentary advocacy for gender equality and women’s rights activists. ERA was consulted on the development of the kit and provided comment on its benefits for Pro Bono.
Project Coordinator of ERA, Hannah Gissane, said it would take advocacy groups like theirs to the next level, by “channelling community momentum” on gender issues into parliamentary advocacy and into the “corridors of power”.
“We’re at this critical moment where politicians are open to our ideas and so having a tool kit like this helps us actually leverage that moment,” Gissane told Pro Bono News.
She also said the fact it was so comprehensive, yet accessible meant it opened up a lot of doors to groups who may otherwise be intimidated to take this next step.
“It demystifies a lot of the logistical and technical stuff around parliamentary processes, roles, leaders and mechanisms, so we are left with very accessible information that could otherwise be locked away, misunderstood or not understood outside of parliament,” she said.
Despite the low representation of women in parliament, both Richards and Gissane believed it was important these tools were used to engage with everyone so women’s issues were well represented.
“Our instinct is when we are advocating for women’s issues we think we should just talk to female politicians because they’ve got skin in the game, but it puts too much burden on them to represent all of our issues when really if we want real change, we need to be looking at places like treasury,” Richards said.
Gissane added: “Knowing how to advocate well in parliament with everyone, is a good way to put pressure on politicians, and make it known that women are a formidable political force.
“Even though Parliament isn’t representative of us proportionately it should still represent our issues.”