This Friday marked International Women's Day. In the run up to the event, WFD took the opportunity to highlight its work to promote women's involvement and participation in parliamentary life and civil society.
Many of WFD's programmes have a focus on building the skills and participation of women, both those aspiring to get involved in politics, and women working at the grass-roots in civil society organisations to better represent the concerns of women and get their voices heard.
Commenting on the importance of marking International Women's Day, WFD's Head of Programmes for the Africa and Asia region Marina Narnor said, "Women’s full and equal participation in the political arena is fundamental to democracy. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, part of our programme is focused on strengthening the capacity of women to engage effectively with the Provincial Assembly of the Province Orientale. In the province, only seven out of 89 parliamentarians are female and there are significant barriers to women’s engagement in the democratic process."
"Our support has involved, for example, a two-day workshop in Kisangani in January 2013, pictured, which focused on building practical skills in advocacy and developing ways in which to work closely with MPs on gender-based policy issues. Women from civil society organisations and MPs from the Provincial Assembly of the Province Orientale attended the event," she said.
WFD is currently running six long-term parliamentary strengthening programmes, from 2012-15, that have a component focused on women's participation. These include programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Pakistan, Morocco, Tunisia and a regional programme across the Middle East.
The UK political parties are also working internationally to increase women's participation, particularly on building regional networks and developing the skills and expertise of women MPs from their sister-parties.
You can read about WFD's recent women focused workshops and activities by clicking on the links below.
You can read more about International Women's Day 2013 by clicking here.
You can access a 'Women in Politics' world map by clicking here.