CASE STUDY: Supporting Sri Lanka’s women MPs on a study tour of

New Zealand

Capital had the great privilege of supporting 11 of Sri Lanka’s 12 women MPs on a study tour of New Zealand in July and August 2023. Our role was to develop a schedule to showcase the significant progress New Zealand has made in advancing the voice of women in Parliament and the position of women in the workplace, as well as the mahi still to be done to build on this success.

The group were members of Sri Lanka’s cross-party Women’s Parliamentary Caucus which represents just 5% of the country’s Parliament and arrived at a fortuitous time with New Zealand’s Parliament and Cabinet gender balanced at that time.

The MPs were here to learn about New Zealand’s story by talking to gender champions across political, government, business and union sectors. Their aim was to take valuable lessons from our experience to help strengthen Sri Lanka’s democracy and support women in employment.

 

Capital was able to leverage its extensive network of valued contacts, tapping into the trusted relationships we have built after working as political strategists, government relations consultants, press secretaries, media specialists and journalists over many decades

We developed a schedule of meetings in Auckland and Wellington that created opportunities for rich dialogue on many key topics, including pay transparency, gender diversity in the workplace, women as business leaders, family and sexual violence, and Parliament’s culture.

Our role was not only to secure meetings with the right people, but to ensure the MPs were well briefed on the stakeholders they were meeting, and the issues top of their minds.

The MPs were thrilled to begin the tour with Rt Hon Dame Jacinda Ardern in Auckland who outlined her priorities when Labour Party Leader and Prime Minister, including child poverty, support for the Rainbow community and progress on gender diversity in the party. She was followed by Rt Hon Helen Clark whose support for civil unions paved the way for marriage equality. 

Other engagement highlights:

  • Ministers Jan Tinetti (Women), Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities) and  Marama Davidson (Family and Sexual Violence).

  • National Party President Sylvia Wood and National MP Jacqui Dean.
  • Labour MP Vanushi Walters, New Zealand’s first Sri Lankan born MP.
  • Homosexual law reform champion Dame Fran Wilde.
  • Marriage equality advocate and former Labour MP
    Louisa Wall and sexual and domestic violence champion Green MP Jan Logie
  • MindtheGap pay transparency campaigner Dellwyn Stuart.
  • Officials from the Electoral Commission, Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, the Ministry of Disabled People and Te Puna Aonui (the cross-government agency on family and sexual violence).
  • NZEI Te Riu Roa and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
  • Hamish Miles, MD Salesforce NZ, and Helen Sedcole, Chief People Officer Z Energy.

  • Labour Party President Jill Day.

Capital was honoured to support this visit, helping these wāhine toa return home with valuable lessons at a time of great economic and social challenge for Sri Lanka.