WOMEN IN POLITICS DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY FOR A DEMOCRATIC CULTURE DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY

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1 A CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 BACKGROUND PAPER WOMEN IN POLITICS DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY FOR A DEMOCRATIC CULTURE DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 1

2 The vision of the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy is to contribute to the development of well functioning political parties and multiparty systems in a democratic culture, in support of the aspirations for freedom and human development of citizens in developing countries.

3 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY WOMEN IN POLITICS DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY FOR A DEMOCRATIC CULTURE A CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR BACKGROUND PAPER ABOUT THE COVER PHOTO Women actively participate in a sweep campaign before local elections in Bihar state of India. Organized by UN Women s partner, The Hunger Project, the campaigns motivate other women to fearlessly stand for elections despite the risk of violence or oppositions. These campaigns also educate them about rules and procedures to file candidatures. (Photo: UN Women/Ashutosh Negi) WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 3

4 DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY MATTERS! Searching for ideas and practices that can inspire change This background document is not about the statistics on women in politics, because we already know the situation too well. As stated in the Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 from the United Nations: Despite growing numbers of women parliamentarians, the target of equal participation of women and men in politics is still far off. Progress is clearly slow, indeed frustratingly slow. Only 26 countries worldwide have managed to achieve the 30 per cent target for women in decision-making positions set by the Beijing Platform adopted in Globally we have still not been able to climb above 20 per cent. When we dig deeper into the different dimensions like top leadership positions in parties and cabinets at national level, ministerial posts, or heads of municipal councils, the picture just gets even more depressing. So despite some progress, the reality we live in continues to be one of discrimination against women, in law as well as in practice, resulting in both equality and diversity suffering. Denmark is doing better than most countries in this area. As suggested in the last article of the background document, maybe the secret is that sustainable equal status development has been rooted in a combination of top-down and bottom-up politics. The state pushed equality through legislation, but making it a living and vibrant reality required the hard and persistent work of various civil society organisations, as well as strong individuals. In a sense this is not a new recognition, but rather a general recipe for change or development. But it is nevertheless important to remember when we search for ideas and practices that can inspire change. Both sides are important; each side needs the other. This is different from stating that every country should now copy what Denmark has done. We know that this is not possible. While recognising that principles of diversity and equality are important dimensions of a democratic culture, we must accept and understand that they have to be managed and practiced in different cultural, religious, social and political settings. The Christiansborg Seminar is therefore not driven by a search for the one-size-fitsall magic bullet, but rather for ideas and experiences from our global village, which can inspire all of us in our different localities. WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 4

5 Of course this search will also build on all the wealth of knowledge others have already accumulated. The journey we have travelled so far indicates that many different areas need to be dealt with in a strategic manner to ensure progress: Equal constitutional rights for women and men need to be included; different electoral systems can offer different avenues; the use of quotas or reserved seats for women can be considered; the role of party rules for recruitment procedures should not be underestimated; capacity development to strengthen skills and resources of women is needed; and reform of the rules and internal procedures within parliament may also be helpful. Changes in institutional structures and regulations are often possible in the shortterm. But history tells us including the successful Danish history that egalitarian attitudes towards women and men, improvements in human development, and societal modernisation are long-term undertakings. After all, it took Denmark around 150 years to reach the present 40 per cent level of women parliamentarians and see the first woman become Prime Minister! Maybe other countries can reach this level more quickly. At the end of the Christiansborg Seminar 2012, we hope to be able to adopt a statement on principles, ideas and practices that can inspire our work on support for women in politics. This will of course not be a legal document, but rather a commitment by the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy to follow these principles when we engage with our partners, both in the area of party-to-party partnerships and in the area of multi-party partnerships. At the general level this is already codified in our strategy for Political Parties in a Democratic Culture, but we hope that the ideas and practices presented in the seminar will make it possible for us to deliver more effectively than is the case today. We believe that this is important and necessary as an end in itself. But it is also important and necessary because the empowerment of young women in politics, women engaging in politics at the local level, as well as women in politics in countries undergoing some form of transition contribute to the overall strengthening of democracy. Bjørn Førde, Director WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 5

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7 CONTENTS 9 Young women in politics FROM HOUSEHOLD LEVEL TO NATIONAL POLITICS 23 Women in local level politics SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 37 Women in transition countries STRUGGLING FOR THEIR FAIR SHARE OF OPPORTUNITIES 45 Gender and democracy DANISH DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION IN A GENDER PERSPECTIVE 57 Networks and toolkits SOME RESOURCES THAN CAN INSPIRE YOUR WORK ABOUT THE PHOTO A woman in traditional dress peaks out from behind a Bolivian flag while listening to Bolivian Presidential Candidate Evo Morales speak at a rally December 13, 2005 in the capital La Paz (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

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9 YOUNG WOMEN IN POLITICS From household level to national politics BY MARYSE HELBERT, AUSTRALIA The aim of this background paper is to offer recommendations as to how to increase the participation of young women in politics through party assistance, based on an analysis of positive and negative experiences from around the world. They will show how these experiences attempt to answer the triple challenge that political parties are facing in engaging more young women in politics. Indeed, there is an overall decline in political participation and engagement among voters and members in political parties generally. Additionally, women overall have experienced difficulty in fully participating in politics due to structural constraints. And lastly, research shows that young people tend to be more interested in informal political action rather than formal political participation. Getting more young women into politics can only be achieved if action is being taken from the household level right through to national politics. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Maryse Helbert has been an advocate for, and researcher on, women s participation in politics and decision-making for over a decade. After completing a Master s thesis on the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the French and Finnish political systems in encouraging and increasing women s political participation, she became actively involved in the movement to institute the so-called Parity Law in France ( ). She has since broadened her research to include women s involvement in decision-making processes related to development, specifically in the context of resource exploitation and climate change, where evidence shows that women are being sidelined. ABOUT THE PHOTO Excited supporters of the Peace, Unity and Development Party (KULMIYE) during an election rally in the city of Hargeisa, Somaliland. (Photo by Petterik Wiggers/Panos Pictures). WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 9

10 INTRODUCTION Defining young women is the first task. Typically, being young falls within the ages of 0 and 30. However, when talking about the right to vote, it is generally at the age of 18 that young people attain that right. A third pertinent point may be put forward when talking about an interest in politics. While it is from 18 years of age that most countries allow the right to vote, politics can be a subject of interest for those who have yet to reach the legal voting age. In the current political scene, political parties play a central role in the governance of modern democracies as they are the bridge between civil society and government. As such, any decline in their voluntary base can be seen as a source of weakening the weight of civil society in the democratic debate. So the recruit of members is in some ways a way to promote a healthy democracy. Additionally, if political parties are bridges between citizens and the state, the more diverse the citizens are within political parties, the more strength the democracy has. To be diverse, political parties need to reach out to young women. If political parties are the gatekeepers to women s advancement to power, and as the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child recognises the right of children and young people to be involved in decision-making (1989), this is a strong case for political parties to reach out and promote more young women to be actively involved in politics. This paper will first review the triple challenge that political parties have to grasp in order to get more young women into politics; positive and negative experiences will highlight how political parties answer the triple challenge; and lastly, recommendations will be made. We know that the guys have their own networks, even in equal societies, there are associations that have existed for hundreds of years and they still do not let us women in. We need to have our own networks supporting each other. ASTRID THORS MP OF THE PARLIAMENT OF FINLAND AND FORMER MINISTER OF IMMIGRATION AND EUROPEAN AFFAIRS AN OVERALL DECLINE OF ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION AND PARTY PARTICIPATION International literature on political participation shows that there is an overall decline in electoral participation and also in the participation in political parties. Overall, since the mid-1980s, there is a notable decline in voter turnout except in countries that enjoy some form of compulsory voting. Five of the top seven countries with the highest voter turnout Australia, Nauru, Singapore, Belgium, and Liechtenstein enforce compulsory voting laws. The voter turnout decline runs parallel with the membership of political parties. Whiteley sees in the decline the increasingly closer relationship between political parties and the state. This, in turn, has converted active members into unpaid state bureaucrats due to increased regulation and control. The increasingly close relationship between political parties and the state means that there is little incentive to recruit or retain members for financial reasons as po- WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 10

11 litical parties rely on the state to fund their activities. 1 In other words, it could be said that while there is an overall decline in political engagement, there is also an overall lack of interest in engaging new, active members in political parties. THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING MORE WOMEN INTO POLITICS The challenge of the overall decline of membership numbers is reinforced by the historical challenges women have had in getting a fair share of the political scene. Young women may be facing the same daunting challenges. Any move in getting more young women into political parties will need to have an understanding of these challenges. Only since the beginning of the 20th century did women start to have the right to vote. For some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, women will have the right to vote and to run for municipal election only in Switzerland gave women the right to vote in the 1990s. Explanations justifying not giving women the right to vote include: Women were not interested in politics; it is impossible to find women who want to run for elections; and women would vote as their priest directed. In some countries active political policies had to be put in place in order to promote the greater inclusion of women in decision-making positions. Nowadays, few countries have reached equality in political representation and while quotas have been implemented in political parties or for decision-making positions, its significant effect in having the inclusion of women on candidate lists ultimately depends on the political will of the parties and effective enforcement of the law. 2 Overall, women still constitute only 19.6 per cent of the members of parliament around the world. Men have historically dominated parties despite women making great strides in recent decades. For the most part, the structural constraints women have to face if they wish for a political career are the same within political parties. And while there may be many women at the base, there are very few at the top. As power increases, the number of women decreases. In the seven countries for which data was available, 51 per cent of active party members were women, of which generally only 16 per cent of party presidents or secretaries were women. Men commonly hold the most senior or powerful positions (president, secretary general, economic secretary, programming secretary, etc.). Women tend to occupy less influential positions such as minutes secretary, archivist, or director of training or culture. This lack of political representation within political parties is due to its highly gendered institutions that incorporated women on a different basis from men and in ways that impeded their access to leadership positions. 3 So it is a challenging and daunting task facing young women indeed. THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING MORE YOUNG PEOPLE INTO POLITICS As for women in politics, the challenges for young people in politics are just as harsh. For example, while 65% of the African population are under 35, the parliament of the different countries of the whole continent do not meet the challenges in matters of political representation of such a young population. Political parties have historically ignored young people and young people s interests despite being, on a world scale, half of the population. And while it is hard for young men to attain real opportunities to reach decision-making positions within political organisations, it is even harder for young women. 1 Whiteley, 2011, 22 2 International IDEA, 2012, International IDEA, 2005, 115 WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 11

12 There are two opposite trends regarding young people and political parties. One is that the academic world has not considered young people and politics as a key research topic, and political parties have not considered young people as an issue of concern within their party. On the other hand, it seems that young people have different interests in politics than their elders. There is an overall understanding that there is a dramatic decline in the political involvement of younger generations, and decreasing levels of youth participation in elections, political parties and traditional social organisations. Research shows that generally, young people conceptualise politics differently, seeing it as an arena for the older generation, and not linked directly to their own lives. 4 They also have a broad mistrust of political parties. Research also shows that, overall, young people who are not involved in politics have the feeling that political parties are not addressing their interests and they feel powerless in relation to the political system. They simply believe that they can t have an impact. And even if they are members of political parties, they cannot see themselves playing important roles or being leaders in these parties. We are not going to be able to solve the gender problem in our political parties without the support of men within the women s committee. We have been missing that kind of strategy as women in Kenya. MRS PENINAH MWASHEWA NATIONAL LABOUR PARTY, KENYA In some countries, a two-party system seems to deter the political interests of young people as they feel they have a lack of alternatives. It is worth noting that one of the reasons the Greens party overall attracts more young members than the traditional political parties is that the Greens party agenda tends to be much closer to young people s political concerns. There are two voices in conceptualising the decline of young people s political interests. Some see the decline in interest in politics as a reflection of the increased individualism within the population. Indeed, some argue that the lack of interest in a formal model of political engagement is due to the new era of neoliberal discourse to which young people have been submitted. The neoliberal discourse has in some ways shifted interest from society to the individual. Members of the younger generation would be primarily interested only in themselves. Ward suggests that the new form of political engagement could be conceptualised as political consumerism, whereby citizens would consume politics as consumers would consume goods. While the pessimistic voices see the increased individualism of society and the consumption of politics as a threat to the future of democracy, the optimistic voices look rather at the wide variety of political actions, formal and informal, which have emerged over the last two decades and point the finger at the political parties not be- 4 Ann and Shuib, 2011, 175 WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 12

13 ing able to keep up with and being disconnected from young people. 5 Indeed, the optimistic voices do not see any threat to the future of democracy but rather a revival and a renewal of democracy due to the diversity of political action that the political parties have to grapple with. These informal political actions create new modes of expression and participation that seem to appeal to young people. The new modes would be elite challenging forms of participation. They would, for instance, focus on single issues or what Norris calls a cause-oriented style of politics 6, or what Giddens calls lifestyle politics. Others mention other forms such as the rise of networks, issue associations and lifestyle coalitions. Overall, the combined optimistic and pessimistic voices would point to an inadequacy of traditional democratic arrangements for contemporary youth. Beyond the two voices conceptualising young people s attitudes and behaviours towards politics there are factors that determine their engagement. Major research in the USA shows that those who get involved in the new/informal forms of political engagement are those who are also more likely to get involved in formal forms of political engagement. In other words, young people who show political apathy in getting involved in formal political actions are also impossible to reach through other means of political action. Indeed, factors which determine political engagement are linked to education and overall social status and social economic background. The higher the education, the higher the political involvement of the parents, and the higher the social economic background of the parents, the more likely young people will engage in politics, whether formal or informal. Other factors would be the multiple challenges young people have to face nowadays which may have an impact on their political attitudes and behaviour. Young people have to cope with dynamic social conditions during their transition to adulthood, which confront them with increasing demands for flexibility on the labour market, with self-reliance concerning welfare security, and with demands for increasing activity with respect to participation in the democratic process. 7 Although the political engagement of young women is not weaker than that of men, it is nonetheless different. Young women tend to be less involved in formal politics and more involved in the informal civic form of engagement, such as socialmovement-oriented activities, that are for instance voluntary work, collecting money, and collecting signatures, and it seems also that youth participation in politics using the new technology continues to be structured by gender in the same way. 8 There are varying factors to explain the difference. Due to the burden of duties such as caring commitments, household domestic duties, but also the requirement of the full participation in the workplace which involves working long hours, young women would lack opportunities and resources to fully engage in formal politics. In fact, a parallel could be made between women having a late entrance in professional careers due to their other domestic/caring commitments and women entering the political scene late for the same reasons. However, they are nonetheless a huge political force. Another factor that could contribute to explaining the difference of interest in politics is women s socialisation. Women s political socialisation is understood here as the process whereby they internalise the view that politics is a man s world. 9 A study of junior high school students found a significant gender gap in political interest in the United States. Boys had more interest in politics and boys and girls did perceive politics as something that held greater interest for boys. Except for Finland where 5 Carnegie UK Trust, 2008b, 14 6 in, Odegard and Berglund, 2008, Gaiser and Rijke, 2008, Cicognani et al., 2012, Gidengil et al., 2010, 335 WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 13

14 adolescent girls envisioned themselves as being more politically active as adults and more skilled about politics than the boys, research shows that young women tend to silence their engagement and knowledge in politics. The perception that politics is a man s world can be mitigated however if there is the presence of female role models. Role models outside and inside the family circle increase the likelihood of political activity. Additionally, if one parent is involved in a political party, it is more likely that the offspring will also be. And, last but not least, having a mother actively politically involved has a particular impact on their daughters political involvement. Researchers of young women s political involvement emphasise the mother role model effect and say that it is not confined to the elite level. The internal functioning and culture of political parties would also be another constraint to women s commitment. Internal functioning, such as the way meetings are organised, the decision-making process, the formality of the decision-making process, the formality of speaking in front of other members, deter young women s full engagement in politics. INCREASING YOUNG PEOPLE S POLITICAL INTERESTS: THE CASE OF NEW ZEALAND 10 In research undertaken on how to reach out to young people, the advice is as follows: Keep it simple, keep it positive, keep it relevant, keep it real, leave the script at home, hold onto your values and ask young people to participate. In the face of an overall decline of young people s political engagement and interest, and the overall perception as being powerless to promote their particular interests, the Auckland City Youth Council initiative is very interesting. Created in 1984, the Auckland City Youth Council enables young people to learn about their community, their city and their local government. It was made up of up to 25 young people, aged between 12 and 24 years, whose role was to advocate on behalf of young people. It was an advisory board. Youth council members were self-nominating and were accepted provided they attended the induction. As New Zealand overall and Auckland in particular are characterised by a young population which is diverse in culture, identity and experiences. Despite principles at the heart of a youth council promoting youth participation which needed to be meaningful, connected to wider decision-making and occurring in ways that young people have control over, the first stage of the youth council showed that having a youth council did not guarantee youth participation, voice and power in decision-making processes. After 15 years of existence, the youth council achievement was a source of disappointment. There was an overall perception that high achieving young people were overrepresented on the youth council. Additionally, the formal structure of the committee meetings, such as speaking through a microphone, making formal resolutions and requesting to speak through the chairperson, seems to deter young people from voicing their issues or engaging in robust discussion and debate. Following a thorough review and structural changes, in 2010, a new structure had achieved a better representation of its local communities. Not only were issues debated in a better environment within the council but also with young people outside the council. The youth council had also increased its capacity to run effective projects, such as implementing a regional youth council. The success of the Auckland Youth Council in 2010 is due to the quality of the relationships that have been built between the council, the community and the wider 10 Finlay, 2010, WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 14

15 youth population. Overall, it could be concluded that the success of this initiative is linked to enabling young people to have a strong voice that leads to action and to provide a space for young people to be heard in civic affairs and in informing policy development. What is critical to its success is that young people have been put at the centre of a process created for them that allows flexibility and ownership over their participation in civic affairs. Following the initiative in Auckland, it can be shown that political parties have to find a more fertile strategy to reach young people and one way to do that is to build bridges between such youth councils and their own structure. ENHANCING YOUNG PEOPLE S POLITICAL INTEREST: AGORA DEMOCRATICA 11 Another initiative to try to reach out to young people is happening in Ecuador and Columbia. Organised with the cooperation of International IDEA and NIMD, this initiative aims at reaching young people in order to enhance their political engagement. The first phase of its program is a series of 12 workshops that take place on the regional level in Ecuador and that aim to raise the consciousness among young people of their rights and of being aware of the barriers that prevent them from participating in politics. This initiative is associated with an interactive website called activate, where young people can interact and learn about Ecuador s state institutions and ways to participate. The last phase of the initiative is to offer training, especially for young talented political representatives in political marketing. Part of this initiative specifically targets young women. Having a youth council does not guarantee youth participation, voice and power in decision-making. REACHING YOUNG PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE As a move to reach out to young people, and especially young women, in 2012 the South Australia government gave a grant to a young women s group. This grant will be used for further developing the group s website, connecting to other social groups, training members to manage and update their website and to instruct others on how to set up a website. This initiative, which has not yet been evaluated, is a really good attempt to reach young people where they are and through tools which are of interest to young people. While attempts to reach young women are always welcome, particular attention has to be paid to the message and the content. In 1999 the Greens party in the town of Fremantle in the state of Western Australia put in place a new initiative particularly targeting young women. The local women s wing put into place a political mandate and used its network to reach out to local young women who wanted to run for election. Criticism, such as the complexity of the message and the lack of ownership regarding the content of the political mandate, was raised in explanation as to the failure of the initiative. 11 Source: Lizzie Beekman, political advisor, NIMD WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 15

16 WOMEN S ORGANISATION UNITS IN PARTIES While many political parties claim to have institutionalised structures for women in their party rules and procedures, most of them do not get support from their parties and they are merely used as a symbolic function as they do not have a clear mandate or resources for action. In these units, women s political participation is limited to support tasks, mobilisation and logistics. A specific mandate of the women s unit must be promoted in order to be used as an active arm of the political party, mobilising women voters and providing logistical support especially during campaigns. Two major papers, one by the UN and the other by International IDEA, have set up the groundwork on what has to be done within political parties in order to make them more women friendly. The first one, Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties, and the second, Gender and Political Parties: Far from Parity, develop the basic principles at every stage of political party life to meaningfully include young women. It is a good practice guide with recommendations. It talks about the internal party organisation and what to do before, during and after the electoral period. The women s units role should be promoting gender equality and monitoring party commitments to gender equality, advising the party on gender policies and educating party members on the importance of these issues, and organising women politically from the standpoint of equal rights and opportunities that should be extended to promote young women and young women s interests and specific situations. A male political culture created barriers to women s advancement towards high positions. POLITICAL PARTY STRUCTURE AND YOUNG PEOPLE 12 A report conducted by the NIMD shows how the organisation of political parties is crucial in integrating young people. In this report Gideon compares the organisation of political parties in Ghana and Kenya. He finds out that overall, while all political parties had a youth wing, the political culture of the Kenyan political parties impedes opportunities for young people as it was based to a large extent on network patronage. For young people who are less reliant on networks, it means they have to make their way in the political party outside the traditional system of party patronage, which makes it very difficult. Cooperation between young people in the Netherlands and Mali shows how crucial the commitment of the (older) political establishment is to ensure young people stand a fair chance in being elected to representative bodies. Sharing experiences, ideas and best practices was useful in order to pinpoint common gridlocks in getting actively involved in political parties. THE JOINT YOUTH AND STUDENTS PLATFORM 13 DemoFinland carried out a small-scale study on women s role in Nepalese youth politics and in the Joint Youth and Students Platform. The Joint Youth and Students Platform aims at enhancing young people s political empowerment and constructive DemoFinland/Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 16

17 dialogue across party lines. It also brings together nineteen political youth and student organisations from different backgrounds. It aims, among other things, to enable capacity building of the youth and student wings of political parties. The small-scale study on women s role in Nepalese youth politics and in the work of the platform clearly showed that Nepalese society still relies strongly on patriarchal values and these were reflected in the political parties overall and in the scheduling of youth activities particularly. Political parties were dominated by a male political culture and it created barriers to women s advancement towards high positions. In the interviews, young females felt that gender quotas had substantially improved their political participation even in the Joint Youth and Students Platform. A common wish was that the quotas would be extended to the decision-making level so that women could be involved on the top level. DemoFinland has also organised a successful exchange about experiences between women s units in Ghana and Tanzania. Similarly, NIMD has organised discussions between youth units of different countries, regions and political parties in order to share knowledge about difficulties for young people in being meaningfully included in political parties. Initiatives such as Suriname and The Netherlands youth wing, the Bolivian partner program (FBDN), The Youth Commission of the Permanent Forum of Political Parties in Guatemala, were implemented to increase knowledge among young people. THE AUSTRALIAN NEXT GENERATION INITIATIVE 14 Following a call from its members to increase young women s political en-gagement in decision-making positions, the Labor Party in Australia has put in place the Next Generation initiative. This initiative aims at giving real-life experiences of political action to young women. The program consists of two streams: a residential program and placement in a campaign. The residential program aims at placing young women with women who hold a decision-making position, such as a high position in a political office, a union or a nongovernment organisation. The second part of the program is to place young women in a political campaign. As such, young women will follow a candidate that is running for election and learn first hand the unwritten rules of a political campaign. These two programs are associated with workshops: one is called Empowering Women s Professional Development Program and the other is speed date mentoring. The first workshop aims at providing political skills training, including campaign planning, government lobbying, affirmative action strategies and social change advocacy. Speed date mentoring is aimed at providing a platform for women to support women, such as Networking Events. These events are tailored for young women. The women s wing of the Labor Party is using a wide range of mediums that include Facebook, Twitter, the political party base and university political groups to reach out to young women via this program. After running it for two years, an evaluation of the Next Generation initiative has shown real enthusiasm as members asked to retain it. THE COMMITTEE TO PROMOTE WOMEN IN POLITICS IN CAMBODIA A grant was made by the UNIFEM/UNDEF program to promote women in politics in Cambodia. This was used to improve public support for women politicians. It included strategies to achieve objectives such as training, advocacy, dialogue, civic education and the development of a peer support network. This project was put into place in 12 of the 24 provinces of Cambodia. 14 A special thanks to Hutch Hussein, EMILY s List Australia National Co-Convenor who was interviewed to share information about this initiative. WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 17

18 It is believed that the work of this program tripled the number of women commune councillors in two provinces in 2007, doubled the number nationally by 2008, doubled the number of women in the top ranks of national party lists and raised the percentage of women in parliament from 19% to 22%, despite the short timeframe to implement it. Beyond the numbers, this initiative increased women s skills as politi-cians and reinforced the links between women at the local and national levels. It increased awareness and support for women politicians by political leaders and voters. Specifically, the program put into place eleven courses for existing women commune councillors to strengthen their effectiveness in office and each woman councillor was individually helped through monitoring to work through scenarios faced in council meetings. Additionally, within political parties in Cambodia, women were provided with some basic items, including clothing appropriate to wear while campaigning and a bicycle for moving around. AFRICAN REGIONAL PROGRAM TO INCREASE WOMEN S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION 15 This initiative was aimed at sharing experiences and knowledge about women s political participation in the different countries of the African continent. For instance, in the documentary produced around this program, Alice Nzomukunda, Member of the Democratic Alliance for Renewal in Burundi, travelled with other women members of political parties in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in order to understand what kind of challenges other women are facing in other political parties: What they are going through and how they have been able to overcome challenges, as Peris Tobiko from the Orange Democratic Movement in Kenya stated. In other words, the aim of this program is for women to share positive experiences and knowledge about women s political participation. While this kind of cooperation consisting of cross-party or cross-country exchange is being praised as a key tool in understanding the challenges women are facing to get into positions of power, the participants of this initiative also emphasised the crucial role of grassroots activism as a way to increase political engagement. Participants emphasised the crucial role of grassroots activism as a way to increase political engagement. THE SWISS MENTORING PROJECT: FROM WOMAN TO WOMAN 16 Started in 2000, the National Youth Council of Switzerland (NYCS) has been running a mentoring program in politics for young women called From woman to woman. The NYCS decided to run this program in 2009 when it became aware that there were only a few women in the higher positions of organisational bodies of the NYCS as well as in the overall political participation of young women in Switzerland in general Neruda, 2005 WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 18

19 The program was broadly understood as aiming to promote more women in the political sphere, including encompassing political parties. Each year there are around 25 mentoring couples participating. Usually, a young woman member of the NYCS the mentee is associated with a woman occupying a position in politics or another high position in the public sphere (NGO, union, political party) as the mentor. The idea is for the mentee to exchange ideas and gain experience from the mentor. This mentoring program is associated with additional training sessions on issues such as gender politics, media work, international politics, a visit to the Federal Office for Women s Issues and a meeting with a female minister. 17 The mentee/mentor is expected to fulfil a number of goals set up by the mentee, such as face-to-face meetings to talk about personal issues, and discussions on how to organise and manage the work-life balance with job, family and politics. After three years of evaluation, the results have shown that overall, the mentees reported a better career and future planning, broader networks and more self-confidence in delivering public speeches. They also mentioned being more interested in political issues in general, in political organisations such as parties and in gender equality. The program helped them improve their knowledge and practice in project management, the planning of their further education in the area of political issues and their media performance. It is also worth noting that this program resulted in really good media coverage in bringing the under-representation of women to the forefront of political issues. Another effect was the multiplication of the program at different levels, such as the European level in Austria, Estonia, Portugal and Malta. More has to be done by setting realistic expectations about the mentoring relationship, increasing the range of activities to increase experience, and expanding the time to be invested between the mentee and the mentor in order to extend positive outcomes. It is worth noting that some mentees were disillusioned about the reality of political life. THE WOMEN CAN DO IT PROGRAM IN THE BALKANS 18 Originating in the Norwegian Labour Party Women s Movement, it was then implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Kosovo province, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It aims at raising awareness about gender inequality and creating the capacity to change the situation. It is essential for women and young women who are already involved or who could potentially become active in public life. They can also be women coming from NGOs and local political parties, from the health and social sector, schools and local administration. It is sustained by a training program to increase political skills and motivation among women to take on responsibilities and decision-making positions in public and political life. It encompasses four steps: The Training-for trainers two-day local seminars where the participants learn about gender equality status in their own countries; a training workshop to deliver speeches, cope with domineering techniques, solve problems in a creative way, manage stress and defeat, campaign and network; then the participants plan a local action to practise the new skills; and following that there is an evaluation seminar. Local partners (women s group) have been the main actors within the program, carrying the main responsibility for the seminars. Overall, the evaluation of the seminars is appreciated by the participants, espe- 17 Neruda, 2005, 2 18 NORAD, 2005 WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 19

20 cially their down-to-earth and practical skills. Thanks to this program, a substantial number of women have been involved and the activities have strengthened women s organisations and underpinned the work done for gender equality in general. RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE GENERAL LEVEL INCLUDE 19 working through grass-roots campaigns, school programs (mock elec-tions), entertainment events and other methods of communication to reach out to young people and to engage them politically; participating in the creation of young people s spaces to meaningfully voice their concerns, issues, interests and ideas; promoting structures in these young people s spaces which meaningfully facilitate young people s voices to make them feel they can have an impact and to ensure diversity of representation; facilitating cooperation between youth councils (at any level) or youth organisations across party, ideology, regions and countries to share ideas, experiences and knowledge about how to improve young people s and especially young women s voices to be better heard and included in political agendas at every level; participating actively in cause-oriented political action as a way of reaching out to young people; promoting young women s political action, initiative and method of communication by offering support including financial support and web support. RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE POLITICAL PARTY LEVEL modifying the structure of the political party organisation to be more young women friendly ; have a legal framework and governing documents which are gender sensitive; have a youth and women s organisation; have measures taken to promote young women s participation in governing boards and decision-making structures; establish party consensus to promote young women s electoral positions and to place them in winnable positions on party lists with real financial assistance; give a real voice to young women by including their interests and agenda in the overall political party mandate. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE TO YOUNG WOMEN mentoring: residential program and placement in campaigns; organise workshops to share knowledge and experiences about the party rules and unwritten rules, and how to make their way through the political party structure; offering workshops to increase political skills and motivation among women to take on responsibilities and decision-making positions in public and political life; promote cooperation between youth and women s units of political parties across ideologies, regions and countries to share information and knowledge. 19 Carnegie UK Trust, 2008b, 14 WOMEN IN POLITICS DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 20

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