Women’s political and socio-economic status improves when women become more involved in decision making and policy development at all levels of governance. Through their active involvement in community work and women’s movements, local women politicians are fully aware of issues faced by women in their communities and are uniquely positioned to address them. The role of women in decision making has been addressed by various international agreements and conventions, CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), to name a few.
In 2009, iKNOW Politics organized an e-discussion on women in local governance. During this e-discussion participants agreed that including women in local governments is a key factor in creating gender sensitive policies and services. Participants believed that women politicians can be active advocates of women’s issues among their colleagues in the local government and vital for mainstreaming gender perspectives in policies, but nevertheless expressed the need for further research to document this.
In this discussion, iKNOW Politics is seeking more encouraging examples from all over the world, highlighting the impact women leaders have in changing the way business is conducted in local governance such as in district, provincial and regional assemblies and local (rural and urban) councils.
- What is the percentage of women in local assemblies and councils? Are there any cultural or institutional barriers for women to become politically active in your community?
- Is there a correlation between women’s political participation at the local and national level? Do you know women national leaders who started their career in local governance? Are there any specific programmes or structures in place supporting local elected women to become leaders at the national level?
- Has your local government undertaken any gender analysis as part of comprehensive policy, programmes and service planning and delivery?
- Does having more women in local governments lead to the creation of more gender sensitive programmes and legislation as well as empowering other women in local communities?