Gender and political participation
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Gender and Political Participation. Socorro L. Reyes Senior Gender Adviser Islamabad, Pakistan. Democracy, Gender and Political Participation.

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Gender and Political Participation

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Gender and political participation

Gender and Political Participation

Socorro L. Reyes

Senior Gender Adviser

Islamabad, Pakistan


Democracy gender and political participation

Democracy, Gender and Political Participation

  • Genuine democracy exists only when half of the population participates equally with the other half in social, economic and political decision-making at all levels of governance.

  • Today, women are only 13.7% of parliaments world wide according to IPU data, a mere 0.6% annual increase fr.‘95


Cultural and structural barriers

Cultural and Structural Barriers

  • Politics and Patriarchy: The Male-Dominated Game of manipulation, Domination and Control

  • Structural Barriers

    • Political Parties as Gatekeepers

    • Single-Member, Plurality Electoral System Does Not Work for Women

    • Scarcity of Campaign Funds for Women


Strategies for attaining gender balance

Strategies for Attaining Gender Balance

  • Quota System

  • Proportional Representation

  • Campaign Finance Reform

  • Political Leadership Training and Support Services

  • Global Campaign fo r ”50/50 by 2005: Get the Balance Right!!!”


Beyond numbers women making a difference

Beyond Numbers: Women Making A Difference

  • Numbers are a necessary but not sufficient condition for women’s full, equal, active and informed participation in economic, social and political decision-making. There is evidence however that when there is a critical mass (at least 30%) of women in policy-making bodies, not only are women’s issues prioritized in the policy agenda but they are most likely to be acted upon by policy-makers.


Women changing the face of politics

Women Changing the Face of Politics

  • In Norway, where women hold 60 of the 165 (36.4%) seats in Parliament, the “politics of care” has developed which particularly addresses the state’s responsibilities to provide opportunities for women to continue the obligations of motherhood with the right to economic independence.


Women transforming the policy agenda

Women Transforming the Policy Agenda

  • In South Africa, where women have 120 out of the 300 (30%) seats in the National Assembly and 8 out of 29 cabinet positions (27.58%0 women parliamentarians have played a key role in lobbying for the:

    • Ratification of CEDAW without reservations in December, 1995


Trends in gender and political participation

  • Establishment of structures to promote and protect gender equality such as:

    • the Commission on Gender Equality

    • Office on the Status of Women

    • the Parliamentary Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women

    • Parliamentary Women’s Caucus


Trends in gender and political participation

  • Enactment of the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act and the Domestic Violence Act

  • Introduction of the Women’s Budget Process which aims at analyzing the government’s budget from a gender perspective.


Women changing women s lives

Women Changing Women’s Lives

  • In the Dehra Dun district of northern Uttar Pradesh--India’s largest state with a population of 170 million-there are 119 women chairpersons, 34 of whom are illiterate while another 40 never got beyond the 8th grade. They have obtained funds to build a network of concrete roads and drains in Enfield Grant.


Trends in gender and political participation

  • In Sweden, where women occupy 149 of the 349 (42.7%) seats in Parliament and 9 of the 11 (82%) cabinet ministries including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Agriculture, issues such as child care and equal opportunities have gained importance.


Trends in gender and political participation

  • The Swedish Child Care Leave Act and the National Insurance Act for Parental Benefits provide for a total of 450 days leave in connection with childbearing and childcare, half the time for the mother and half the time for the father. The compensation level is 75% of gross income for 350 days.


Trends in gender and political participation

  • The Swedish Parliament passed the Equal Opportunities Act which promotes equal rights for men and women with respect to employment, working conditions and opportunities for personal development at work.


Implications for legislative programming

Implications for Legislative Programming

  • UNDP Support Can Focus on the following Program Areas For Civil Society

  • Increasing Women’s Political Awareness and Consciousness

  • Training on Strategic Advocacy for Equality Legislation

  • Training on “How to Run and Win”


Implications for legislative programming1

Implications for Legislative Programming

  • UNDP Support Can Be Focused on the following Areas for Parliament

  • “Mentoring and Nurturing Women MPS”

  • Gender Sensitivity and Awareness-Raising

  • Gender Budgeting

  • Drafting Gender Sensitive Legislation


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