In Bangladesh, HELVETAS supports rural women reviewing local government budget planning and spending
Photo: © HELVETAS

19.09.2017

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Women account for 50 per cent of the global population, however on average retain less than 30 per cent of positions in various forms of political office and decision making. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action identifies achieving gender balance in political participation and decision-making as a critical global issue.

There is no silver bullet solution to how to achieve inclusive political leadership and representative participation of women. Quotas are commonly applied, but is this enough? HELVETAS’ experience shows that quotas help establish a minimal quantitative benchmark. However more people-centred and inclusive processes are required for achieving meaningful and sustainable qualitative long-term change and sharing of leadership roles between men and women in their family, social, economic and political spheres.

HELVETAS’ women empowerment activities around the globe

In Albania, HELVETAS collaborates with an informal network of women in politics committed to training and coaching women leaders. The project also provides small grants to women seeking a political career to improve their education and political knowledge as well as public speaking and debating skills, among others.

In Bhutan, the organisation supports building confidence and trust among female and male voters to elect women, where factors such as traditional societal and cultural norms challenge the prospects of of women seeking and filling political representation.

In Bolivia, it engages with and encourages men to be empowered and in turn support and promote the empowerment of women to actively participate and take decision-making roles in local community development planning and affairs.

In Ethiopia, HELVETAS works with women’s civil society organisations and local councils, relying on peer-led training of trainers whereby knowledge and skills are shared between established women leaders and leaders in training.

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