Women’s equal representation and participation in politics and public life is not simply desirable for fully-functioning democratic systems; it is essential.
Women’s political leadership results in better outcomes for women and girls, as well as for society as a whole, and delivers progress in policy areas vital for economic growth and development, such as health, education and infrastructure. Even without these quantifiable dividends, the argument for women’s empowerment is irrefutable – democracy cannot be said to exist if half of the population is not wholly engaged equally in decision-making.
WFD’s work will take into consideration the social, cultural, economic and political norms that inhibit women’s full participation in politics and governance, and work with partners to develop systems and strategies that challenge and transform these.
Parliamentary assistance will include efforts to embed gender throughout all aspects of parliamentary business, including introducing innovations in gender budgeting and auditing, and incorporating gender analysis into post-legislative scrutiny processes. Work with political parties will link systems for recruitment and advancement of women candidates with organisational development and strategies for higher levels of performance and competitiveness in elections.
WFD’s work on women’s empowerment will include stakeholder-wide programming that involves all those – including men – who have an impact on women’s opportunities to exercise influence, as well as offering women only engagements that allow emerging women leaders to further develop their skills in a supportive environment.