The Duchess of Cornwall attended the roundtable meeting and closing session of the Women’s Forum at the QEII Conference Centre in central London today – a cause close to Camilla’s heart and something that she has campaigned for since at least 2009.
Upon arrival at the conference centre, the Duchess was greeted by Jude Kelly, the artistic director of the Southbank Centre and a campaigner for women’s rights. The meeting is one of the side-events of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings (CHOGM) taking place in London, and reflects on the gender inequality across the Commonwealth, and the aim by heads of government to achieve gender equality by 2030.
Camilla was taken to a roundtable discussion with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick; the Chair of the Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse, Elizabeth Filkin; the CEO of SafeLives, Suzanne Jacob; two survivors of domestic violence and representatives from eight other Commonwealth Nations who have experience combatting domestic violence. The topic that was discussed was ‘an improved response to abuse by employers’, an issue being discussed within governments right across the Commonwealth.
The Duchess then gave a speech at the main forum, building on her earlier speeches from 2015 when she visited Government House in Adelaide to address domestic violence in Australia, Purple Lily’s Reproductive Rights and Sexual Awareness in Kuching, Malaysia in 2017, the Met Police HQ and the Women Of the World Festival in Brisbane so far in 2018.
She said: “Domestic abuse remains a hidden problem in society. It is characterised by silence.”
“I hope we can talk about what is happening behind closed doors across the world.”
The first Commonwealth Women’s Forum was held in Malta at the November 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) as a response to a proposal from the 10th meeting of the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Meeting of 2013. The purpose of the forum is to affirm high-level support and direct top-level policies for gender equality and women’s rights, for equal opportunities, and for the Commonwealth’s commitments to gender equality to be positioned high on the agenda for Commonwealth governments.
Tomorrow, Prince Harry and Meghan will attend a Women’s Empowerment reception.