The Speaker of Belize’s House of Representatives, Valerie Woods has been appointed as the new regional Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians for the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic region. Known by its acronyms CWP, the network of women members of parliaments is part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Among its objectives the group helps to build capacity of women elected to parliament to be more effective in their roles. At the same time, it helps to improve awareness and ability of parliamentarians, regardless of gender, to including a gender perspective in all aspects of their role, including legislation, oversight and representation. Overall, it helps parliaments across the Commonwealth become gender-sensitive institutions. Speaker Woods noted that while the number of female parliamentarians represented in the region is still below the international target of thirty percent, Belize is still lower at just under thirteen percent of elected members in the House. In the Senate, it’s closer to thirty-one percent. She reiterated the call that for parliaments to be gender-sensitive, the participation of male parliamentarians and parliamentary staff is required. More than that, she added quote “…members of the parliament in the region [need] to be proactive and bold in working together in strengthening our parliamentary institutions.” Speaker Woods will chair the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region for three years.