Empowering women for stronger politiical parties - A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women’s Political Participation

01 Nov 2011


A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women’s Political Participation


"Gender equality and women’s empowerment are not only human rights; they are also imperative for achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. Women’s political participation is central to these goals, and political parties are among the most important institutions for promoting and nurturing such participation. With less than twenty per cent of the world’s parliamentary seats occupied by women, it is clear that political parties need to do more—and should be assisted in those efforts—to support women’s
political empowerment.

Globally, although forty to fifty per cent of party members are women, women hold only about ten per cent of the leadership positions within those parties. Ensuring women’s equal participation in the decisionmaking structures of parties is essential for promoting gender equality within them – and, ultimately, within society as a whole. Over a period of eighteen months, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) compiled twenty case studies of party activities to promote women’s political empowerment. Drawing on those and other examples, UNDP and the NDI identified concrete steps which can be taken by political parties to promote women in political life.


This publication, Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women’s Political Participation, is the fruit of this research, and provides concise and targeted options for political party reform. This Guide is the first of its kind to identify and categorise the range of actions which political parties can take to support women’s participation during different phases of the electoral cycle, including during the pre-and post- election phases.

The Guide is targeted to members of political parties, particularly those in leadership roles, and to civil society organizations and gender equality activists. It is also intended to encourage global political party foundations and alliances to embrace gender equality as a norm in their constitutions and their work.


Finally, the Guide gives valuable guidance to those international organizations and development agencies which provide programming support to political parties in relation to women’s political participation. When women have a real voice in all governance institutions, from the political to those in the civil service, the private sector, and civil society, they will be able to participate equally with men in public dialogue, and influence the decisions which determine their own future and that of their families, communities, and nations."

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