Opposition senator, Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell. (iWN file photo)

Opposition senator, Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell, will attend the Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU) Women’s Conference and Network Launch in Miami, Florida from Friday to Sunday, the New Democratic Party (NDP) said on Wednesday.

The conference will bring together female political leaders and activists from Belize, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Barnwell will be joined by Shannon O’Connell, senior gender advisor at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and Felicia Drummond, former Conservative MP and member of the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, in a panel discussion on “Barriers to and Opportunities for Women’s Participation in Political Parties and Parliaments”.

The NDP, of which Barnwell is a member, said it believes in gender equality and the importance of women’s participation in politics and decision making.

NDP president and Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, is vice chair for policy and external affairs on the CDU Executive Board.

He said the conference is important in “developing an advocacy network to combat barriers to women’s participation in politics throughout the Caribbean region”.

Secretary General of the CDU, Nick Francis, a former president of the NDP’s youth arm, anticipates productive sessions at the conference in Miami and a successful launch of the CDU Women’s Network.