Two-Day Exchange with the Parliament of Malaysia to Advance Gender Equality

A two-day exchange took place between the sub-committee on gender-responsive budgeting from the House of Representatives of Malaysia (Dewan Rakyat) and MPs and parliamentary staff from the Italian Chamber of Deputies and from the Irish Houses of the Oireachtas on 26 and 27 May 2022 in Rome at the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

The aim of the study visit was to enable participants to exchange experiences, ideas, and strategies for advancing gender equality through parliamentary work. The key areas of discussion included:

  • How to leverage power as a parliamentarian to advance gender equality?
  • What are some successful strategies to build a gender-sensitive Parliament?
  • What does the data and evidence point towards?

The delegates also learnt about the ways MPs are driving positive change and advancing gender equality in their constituencies and identified short-term opportunities that could be turned into long-term goals to bring about a positive transformation in Parliaments.

The exchange was divided into several sessions focused on gender-responsive budgeting, data collection methodologies, and broader discussions on identifying long-term goals.

On day 1 of the exchange, the Malaysian delegation met with Vice President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Maria Edera Spadoni to discuss the Italian Chamber of Congress’ vision for a gender-sensitive Parliament, how the Vice President spearheaded the adoption of gender impact assessment as a tool to carry out gender-sensitive scrutiny at the Italian Chamber of Deputies. This was followed by a session with the Italian Chamber of Deputies Research Service on gender-disaggregated data and evidence and on how to carry out gender impact assessment in practice. This session also covered strategies to improve gender-related data collection at the government level.

A peer-to-peer exchange on gender-responsive budgeting was held on day 1 that focused on issues such as benchmarks and indicators for gathering gender data and how MPs can facilitate change at the policy level in their individual capacities, which included the participation of a delegation from the Irish Houses of the Oireachtas consisting of Director, Parliamentary Budget Office and Head of Expenditure Policy Analysis, as well as members of the Budget Office of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

On day 2 of the exchange, the Malaysian delegation participated in a planning session with the INTER PARES team to identify ways in which the work of the sub-committee on gender-responsive budgeting can be advanced. Thereafter, the delegation participated in a session with Mrs. Daniela Collesi, Lead Gender Expert of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance to discuss data collection methodologies, data management techniques, and more.

The next steps will include support for the development of an action plan, as well as discussions around the introduction of gender impact assessment as a scrutiny tool at the Malaysian House of Representatives.