Increasing Women's Political Participation

Expanding the number of women who are qualified for recruitment in political career is necessary. This can be done by giving women access from an early stage to work patterns that are conducive to political leadership, such as special training in community-based or neighborhood organizations. Common understanding of the concerns of women in politics, lobbying skills and networking are also important for the process of training women for political careers. To this end, Women's Leadership Schools are necessary, since they are the places where links can be made between the wider groups of women and women politicians. They are also often the only places where women (more particularly young women) can be prepared and encouraged for a political career at an early age. In essence, they can be groomed for politics in the same ways that men are.

Recommendations for Ensuring Successful Participation of Women in Politics

In addition to recommendations already made, the following suggestions would be found useful in increasing women's chances of political careers:

1. Alteration of the constitution to reflect and ensure the implementation of gender rights and equality.

2. Promoting and enforcing the provisions of the U.N Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women by passing it into Law. Thereafter, the recommendations must be actualized and the progress must be monitored by an organization which has not been co-opted by the elite power groups.

3. Continuous dialoging on gender must be implemented in order to sensitize both girls and boys from primary school and beyond. Moreover, those already in society working must have their awareness raised in order to create interventions which break up unconscious and embedded sexism.

4. Alteration of school curriculums to include compulsory civic education with emphasis on the equality of both sexes. Moreover, teachers should be trained so that they do not inculcate embedded sexual biases into their teaching practices. This may be especially important for science and math teachers as these jobs are possibly the most important for future labor market access with the highest economic gains.

5. Education of young girls and women in order to change their negative, fearful and resigned attitudes toward political issues. Young women should be politcally mobilized from early ages and expect to take part in the decision making processes of their nations.

6. Advocacy for decentralization of political authority and intensification of action for women's participation in all aspects of government.

7. Reservation of quotas of not less than 30% for women in all levels of government beginning from the grassroots to the top levels.

8. Action to reduce the gender gap and increase women's capacity to take up political portfolios through adequate education, preparation and training.

9. Organization of civic education campaigns on the importance of women's participation at all levels of government; and the need for women to vote for women politically in order to improve the standard of living amongst the women. Voting for women should, if possible, cross constituency boundaries, providing the women nominated for office have "improvement of the lives of women" as a sincere platform promise.

10. Efficient networking amongst women's groups. And if possible, incorporation of a women's bureau in government which writes new legislation geared toward the advancement of all women regardless of socio-economic status. Ideally, these groups should be also working in close cooperation with NGOs and IGOs.

11. Consolidation of action plans to eradicate traditional gender based subordination that limits women socially and economically. These should be implemented at the national, regional and local levels and cut across socio-economic status.

12. Support capacity building of NGOs and non-traditional projects for women. These organizations are most effective when working in close cooperation with the government.

13. Encouragement and support of businesswomen in accessing credit, through networking amongst businesswomen locally and globally. Establishment of microcredit programs may be beneficial.

14. Promotion of equitable and respectful relationships amongst women that cut across religion, race, profession and class.