Page 1

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 STATEMENT ON SUPPORT TO Women in Politics

Principles, ideas and practices that can inspire COPENHAGEN, SEPTEMBER 11-12

DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY


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.


INTRODUCTION Searching for ideas and practices that can inspire change

Acknowledging the principles, targets and benchmarks set by international conferences like the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 and the Millennium Declaration in 2000; Knowing that progress so far falls short of the targets set by the international community for the equal participation of women in politics; Recognising the importance of the contributions from women’s and other civil society organisations around the world working for the empowerment of women and the participation of women in politics; Appreciating the targeted support offered by specialized organisations like UN Women, UNDP, International IDEA, the National Democratic Institute, OSCE/ODIHR and others in strengthening the role of women in politics; Building on the information provided in the Christiansborg Seminar background document, as well as the presentations and interventions offered by representatives from parties and organisations during the seminar; Understanding the value and necessity of women’s engagement and participation within the broader framework of human rights and equal access; We, participants in the Christiansborg 2012 workshop, have discussed the following ideas and practices and suggest they be pursued in ways that are relevant and sensitive to the local context in which we work. *** The Christiansborg Seminar was driven by a search for ideas and experiences from different corners of the global village, to inspire all of us in our different localities, and focusing on political parties. The intention was not to search for the ‘one-size-fits-all’ magic bullet, which does not exist. Managing diversity and practicing equality are important dimensions of a democratic culture. Consequently, the focus of the seminar was on the various ways the principles of diversity and equality are managed and practiced in different cultural, social and political settings. Speakers and participants from all continents shared their rich stories and experiences, making the seminar a creative meeting and learning place. It is in this spirit that we have agreed to highlight the following principles, ideas and experiences. We know that they only touch upon a few aspects, but we believe they can make a difference.

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 3


GENERALLY ON WOMEN IN POLITICS The journey travelled so far indicates that many different areas need to be dealt with and combined in a strategic manner to ensure progress on the involvement of women in politics. It is also necessary – as evidenced by the Danish story - to combine top-down interventions from the state with bottom-up interventions by a variety of civil society organisations. Increasing women’s political participation can only be achieved in a broader framework of expanding women’s rights and advancing social justice. Investing in women’s organisations as platforms for building women’s transformative leadership is an important priority. A baseline study by Pippa Norris and Lena Krook, commissioned by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, suggests a six-step action plan to promote gender equality in elected office. Many of these are in line with the suggestions presented in the guide from UNDP and NDI “Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties”.

Foto: Lars Schmidt

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 4


Participants considered these to be useful approaches, although the areas presented will not need to be addressed in the sequence mentioned here.

1

Equal constitutional rights for women: Most constitutions today include the political rights and civil liberties needed as part of the enabling framework for the involvement of women in politics. In some cases, in particular in transition countries, it can be important to ensure that any forms of sex discrimination and limits to equal citizenship are dealt with. Women should be part of the whole process concerning the drafting, decision-making, and implementation of the constitution.

2

Role of the electoral system: Different types of electoral systems offer different opportunities, challenges and incentives for recruitment of candidates in general, and for women in particular. A proportional system will be different from a majoritarian system. Features like the use of reserved seats, open or closed party lists, allocation of campaign funding and threshold requirements are important.

3

Use of quotas or reserved seats: Some of the countries with the highest level of women’s representation have achieved this without legal quotas (like Denmark), and other countries have used quotas successfully (like Rwanda). Wherever quotas have been used, they have been able to fast-track the nomination and election of women. While quotas remain contentious in some countries, they have been found to be the most effective way to rapidly increase the number, but not automatically the influence of women in politics. Women elected though quotas should have equal opportunities and rights as other elected officials.

4

Party rules for recruitment: Effective strategies can include adoption and implementation of party-specific gender quotas, informal targets, and other mechanisms at all levels of the party structure. This means that focus should be on intra-party democracy processes involving party laws, rules and regulations.

5

Capacity development to strengthen skills: The capacity of women in politics as well as women’s organisation in building women’s leadership should be supported. Initiatives will typically focus on equal opportunity initiatives (knowledge networks), initiatives to raise awareness (citizen education) and party initiatives (setting up a women’s section).

6

Rules and procedures in parliament: Issues like the hours of parliamentary or rural council sessions need to be considered. Modalities of recruitment and promotion of leadership are important. Practical issues regarding childcare and maternal facilities and ensuring work-life balance should not be overlooked either.

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 5


WOMEN IN LOCAL POLITICS Local politics may not be a theme that clears the front pages every day, but it is of essential importance for people all over the world that their local politicians are able to understand and respond to their needs. In most countries local level politics is about deciding on the use of local resources and as such of great importance for the daily lives of people all over the world. The lack of women in local politics is a global issue that has been debated for many years. Women’s involvement in decision- and policy-making processes is absolutely essential for changes in women’s political, social and economic status. As such women are seen as actors of change. To strengthen the active involvement of women in local politics, it would be useful to have better data.

Foto: Lars Schmidt

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 6


Participants in the workshop considered the following principles, ideas and practices to be important:

1

The culture of local politics: The culture needs to ensure that women are treated fairly and have equal access. To achieve this, gender awareness programmes for both men and women need to be developed, also emphasizing more women friendly and consensus style politics and meetings at times that fit into other responsibilities that women have. Support such as child care and social benefits for elected women representatives should be a given, as well as a reasonable renumeration.

2

Economic and social empowerment: Policies are needed to enable women to participate on an equal footing with men. Local government institutions need to work closely with NGO’s and women’s groups to develop communities and services that take care of women’s needs.

3

Capacity development and networking: Funding for gender and development that emphasizes capacity building, women’s leadership programmes and strengthening of various skills and knowledge required to be effective in office continue to be important. Capacity building should cover both elected and political aspirants. Strategic alliance building to advance the gender equality agenda must be strengthened, and platforms for women in local politics should be supported. Also, the cooperation between women in politics at local level and women’s organisations must be strengthened.

4

Special legal measures: Special legal measures to promote women in elected office should be endorsed. These can include quotas, reserved seats, and other measures relevant in the specific context.

5

Money makes a difference in elections: Funds need to be established to assist women to stand for election, and party funds should be divided equitably between male and female candidates.

6

Role of political parties: Political parties play a crucial role in promoting and accommodating women in politics at local level regardless of whether the local elections are based on party lines.

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 7


YOUNG WOMEN IN POLITICS Engaging youth and especially young women in politics is important, but also a challenge for all democracies. The importance of engaging youth is self-evident considering their majority status in many populations and the fact that the future belongs to the youth. To increase the number of young women, political parties have to face a triple challenge: There is an overall decline in political participation and engagement in political parties; women overall have had challenging difficulties in fully participating in politics due to structural constraints; and research shows that young people tend to be more interested by informal political actions than formal political participation.

Foto: Lars Schmidt

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 8


Participants in the workshop considered the following principles, ideas and practices to be important:

1

Creating a consensus among political parties: It would be useful if initiatives could be taken to establish multi-party consensus to promote young women’s electoral positions and to place them in winnable positions on party lists with real financial assistance. The political parties are duty bearers and we need to hold the parties responsible for promoting young women.

2

Mentoring and sharing of experiences: Examples of mentoring of women by women have shown good results in the social and economic sphere, and the approach is now also being used in the arena of politics. This can be a cost-effective way of bringing new generations of women into politics.

3

Support mobilisation of youth where they are: Work through grassroots campaigns, school programmes (mock elections), 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.

4

Making the voices of young people heard: Facilitate 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.

5

Changing the internal structures of political parties: Modify 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 measures taken to promote young women’s participation in governing boards and decision-making structures; for example reserve two seats to young people in the central committee in the political parties - one of them to a woman.

6

Working together across party lines: There are many examples from around the world of women’s parliamentary groups cutting across party lines, helping to empower women in parliament, and setting agendas. Promoting cooperation between youth and women of political parties across ideologies, regions and countries to share information and knowledge is a realistic possibility in many countries.

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 9


WOMEN IN TRANSITION POLITICS Women have played central roles in transition countries, on an equal footing with men. But women seem to be marginalized in the formal processes, and tend not to do well in decision making and post transition elections. Women’s interests are not taken into account in major reforms in areas such as constitutional reform, security sector reform and judiciary reform. Women tend to be left out of political space where future governance structures are negotiated.

Foto: Lars Schmidt

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 10


Participants in the workshop considered the following principles, ideas and practices to be important:

1

Support for women’s autonomous organising: Support women’s mobilisation as a constituency is a key investment to increase women’s effective participation in transitions. This should reinforce women’s transformative leadership and enhance their ability to influence change.

2

Agenda setting: There is need to strengthen the capacity of key institutions to integrate women’s strategic interests. This should buttress the need for the implementation of principles and values on gender equality and women’s empowerment that are written in international covenants.

3

Adoption and implementation of positive measures: It is important that women are represented in mediation and negotiation teams. Context specific positive measures need to be carried out. Measures that are advocated for and put in place have to be reinforced with public awareness campaigns on women’s participation and representation.

4

Male advocates: Work with men and design initiatives that systematically engage men and boys in women’s empowerment and gender equality promotion, and making men equally responsible as women for the achievement of women’s empowerment. While this is a general point, in transition processes it is of outmost importance.

5

Mobilisation of media support: The way women are portrayed in the media has enormous impact on women’s participation and representation in processes and positions of transitional decision making. Working with the media to provide balanced coverage of women and men and inform about equality issues is an essential strategy. While this is also a general point, in transition processes the way women are portrayed in the media plays a crucial role in breaking down stereotypes, dealing with taboos, and portraying positive images of women as leaders.

6

Legal framework to protect women from gender based violence: Women’s vulnerability to gender based violence is one of the most obvious deterrents and the price paid for political participation by women in political transitions. Media advocacy to address the underlying gender inequalities that are the key drivers of gender based violence is a vital strategy, and it is important to deal with taboos.

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 11


STRANDGADE 56 1401 COPENHAGEN K DENMARK TEL.: +45 32 69 89 89 MAIL: DIPD@DIPD.DK WEB: WWW.DIPD.DK

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR The ’Christiansborg Seminar’ is an annual event, bringing DIPD partners and colleagues from around the world together to share ideas and practices on a specific theme. The seminar offers a unique opportunity for Danish political parties and NGOs to learn from other Nordic organisations as well as from partners in political parties and democracy organisations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012 DANISH INSTITUTE FOR PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY PAGE 12


CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012: STATEMENT  

CHRISTIANSBORG SEMINAR 2012: STATEMENT

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you