Mongolian Women’s Caucus Conducts First-Ever Legislative Meeting

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – Women members of Mongolia’s Parliament wasted little time in getting to work after their election on June 28, 2012. Tripling their numbers in this election from three to nine, the new members capitalized on this momentum to create an informal parliamentary caucus with the encouragement of the Women’s Democracy Network at the International Women’s Leadership Forum held in July 2012.

Putting partisanship aside, the women quickly organized, elected their own leadership and agreed upon an agenda. This was completed all before the Mongolian Secretary General of the Parliament was elected and committee chairs were assigned. The women then focused on their first priority: improving the quality of maternity hospitals.

At their first legislative meeting, held on August 6, 2012, the Mongolian Parliamentary Women’s Caucus brought much needed national attention to the quality of maternity hospitals. In addition to members of the caucus, officials from Mongolia’s Ministry of Health, hospital administrators and representatives from more than 16 local Mongolian health related civil society organizations addressed this unspoken crisis.

The caucus also heard from obstetricians and health care professionals via a video of taped interviews that explained key issues facing maternity hospitals today. This includes an insufficient number of maternity beds and a dwindling number of maternity health care professionals. Low salaries, burdensome government regulation and a lack of training capacity contribute to the problems that maternity hospitals face.

“Thanks to IRI support, we are now able to focus on this pressing issue,” said Erdenechimeg Luvsan, chair of the caucus.

There is a shortage of more than 600 maternity specialists in the country and with the information and recommendations gathered in this workshop we will bolster our arguments for increased funding in the national budget.

The legislative workshop was supported by the International Republican Institute with funding from the National Endowment for Democracy.

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