Skip to main content

Parliaments & Representatives


“COVID-19 is a crisis with a woman’s face… The damage is incalculable and will resound down the decades, into future generations. Now is the time to change course. Women’s equal participation is the game-changer we need.”  Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, opening remarks at CSW 65

The gender gap in politics remains the largest gender gap across sectors. In 2022, women are still marginalized and unfairly represented at all levels of government globally, making up 36% of local deliberative bodies and 26.1% of national parliaments. Only 8.3% of Heads of Government and 7.2% of Heads of State are women.[1] 

Although increased women’s participation in decision-making leads to more inclusive policies and service delivery, achieving parity remains a challenge as persisting barriers hinder women’s equal access and participation in public life, including the lack of financial resources and access to networks, discriminatory laws and institutions, and gender-based violence. At the current rate of progress, the World Economic Forum estimates that gender parity in politics will not be attained before the year 2166. 

Disasters and crises often exacerbate existing inequalities, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. While an estimated 80 countries and territories postponed national and local elections, at least 158 held elections despite COVID-19 related concerns and restrictions.[2]  In 2020 and 2021, it is estimated that voter turnout declined in 66% of countries. Similarly, civic and democratic spaces have shrunk: 155 countries introduced limitations on the freedom of assembly, which in many cases were supplemented by additional restrictions on civil and political rights; and 60 countries targeted freedom of expression. 

Many national parliaments reconfigured or reduced their activities by introducing remote and hybrid plenary sessions, committee meetings, voting, government oversight, and public engagement. While remote arrangements can break down some of the practical barriers to in-person participation for women with domestic care responsibilities and women with disabilities for instance, virtual participation can disadvantage women as it could increase their exposure to domestic violence and reinforce domestic gendered roles and expectations.

Additionally, parliaments with virtual participation may reinforce political power imbalances, favoring those physically present in meetings – more likely to be men – and reducing the visibility and impact of remote participants – more likely to be women. Similarly, restrictions on in-person political campaigning activities can widen the gap between elite and nonelite women candidates, favoring those with existing networks, resources, and name recognition.

Virtual participation and internet use are also associated with increased exposure to online abuse and violence against women in politics, which can discourage women from engaging in public debates and voicing their political opinions and aspirations publicly. Reports in 2020 show that women in politics were targeted by intense online abuse and harassment during their mandate as well as during electoral campaigns and elections. 

Although there are many women leaders receiving global praise for their crisis-management performance in the past two years, women in most contexts continue to be largely left out. Women elected officials, women candidates, and women voters are particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its backsliding effects that further exacerbate inequalities and reinforce barriers. 


This e-Discussion seeks to raise awareness and collect experiences, knowledge, and good practices on women’s political participation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as explore how to best mitigate the crisis’ effects on women voters, women candidates, and women elected officials to ensure women’s full and equal political participation at all levels of public decision-making processes. 

Electoral management bodies, women and men in politics, political party leaders and members, civil society and women’s rights activists, practitioners, and researchers are invited to join this e-Discussion from 21 March to 11 April 2022 by answering the below questions. The submissions will contribute to the elaboration of a report that will augment the knowledge base available on the topic.     


  1. How did COVID-19 related restrictions affect the turnout of women voters in local and national elections in your country/region? What are the best measures to ensure greater women voters’ turnout in the future?
  2. How did COVID-19 related restrictions affect women’s ability to run for office and get elected at the local and national levels in your country/region? What can electoral management bodies, political parties, lawmakers, and governments do to make sure women have equal access to elected positions?  
  3. What is the gender impact of virtual parliamentary work and participation? Have remote parliamentary arrangements affected your parliament’s gender-sensitivity and diversity?
  4. Has violence against women in politics, including online harassment and abuse, increased in the last two years in your country/region? If so, please provide details and concrete suggestions to make politics a safe space for women.

To contribute

  • Use the comments section below; or
  • Send your contribution to so that we can post it on your behalf.  



[1] Average as of 1 March 2022 based on UN Women calculations.

[2] Data valid as of 1 February 2022.


More than 40 years after the entry into force of CEDAW and 26 years after the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, progress around women’s full and equal political participation has stalled and gender balance remains a long way off. Women only make up 25% of all national parliamentarians, 36% of local government members, and 21% of ministers.[1] Only 23 countries are headed by a woman Head of State or Government, and States have yet to have a woman leader.[2]

While some countries have made progress towards gender balance in politics, the vast majority are lagging behind. In 114 countries, between 10% and 29.9% of parliamentarians are women, and in 25 countries, women make up less than 10% of parliamentarians. Women account for less than 30% of ministers in 130 countries, 12 of which have no women's representation at all.[3] Gaps in politics persist because of structural barriers and challenges that reinforce discriminatory beliefs, norms, practices, and policies.

In this year’s Agreed Conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 65), States agreed to a raise the bar to 50/50 gender balance in all elected positions by taking all necessary measures to break barriers and accelerate progress, including: set specific targets and timelines to achieve gender balance in all branches of government and at all levels through temporary special measures such as quotas and appointments; encourage political parties to nominate equal numbers of women and men as candidates; eliminate, prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women and girls; and develop, fund and implement policies and programmes promoting women’s leadership.

At the current rate of progress, gender parity will not be reached in national legislatures before 2063, and among Heads of Government before 2150.[4] The world cannot afford to wait any longer to achieve equal representation for women. With 50/50 gender balance in politics as a global goal, fast tracked actions are needed to close the gender gap in politics once and for all. 


Following the CSW 65’s outcome, this e-Discussion seeks to raise awareness about the slow progress towards achieving full and equal participation of women in politics and to gather experiences and recommendations on how to best accelerate progress and close the gender gap in politics. Women and men in politics, civil society activists, practitioners and researchers are invited to join this e-Discussion from 11 May to 1 June 2021 by answering the below questions. The submissions will contribute to the elaboration of a report that will augment the knowledge base available on the topic.     


  1. What are the levers of success in countries with high representation of women in politics?
  2. More than half of countries have no temporary special measures, several of which have less than 10% of women in parliament. What can be done to ensure gender balance in politics is achieved in such countries? What role can political parties play?
  3. Women are under-represented in all spheres of public life, including in public administration and the judiciary. What measures do you propose to ensure women have equal representation in all public life sectors?

To contribute

  1. Use the below comment section below.
  2. Send your contribution to so that we can post it on your behalf. 


[1] Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls: report of the Secretary-General:

[2] Based on calculations by UN Women, as of 1 April 2021.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls: report of the Secretary-General:


The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the most important treaty on women’s human rights. Adopted in December 1979 and ratified by 189 States, it is a leading tool in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women and advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality, both in the law and in practice. The implementation of CEDAW is critical to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 on gender equality and Goal 16 on peace, justice and inclusive institutions.

State parties to CEDAW are legally obliged to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, including in politics, to guarantee women can exercise their human rights in the same way as men, and to regularly report to the CEDAW Committee on their progress towards achieving these goals.

No country in the world has fully achieved gender equality, and none “are fully transforming laws, policies, or public budget decisions on the scale needed to reach gender equality by 2030.”[1] Discriminatory laws are still widespread, affecting more than 2.5 billion women and girls across the world. It is estimated that women enjoy only 75% of the legal rights of men.[2]

When laws guaranteeing equality are adopted, their implementation is often hampered by persisting gender stereotypes, discriminatory social norms and the economic exclusion of women. CEDAW mandates that States guarantee substantive equality between men and women – not only equality in the law or equality of opportunities, but also equality of outcomes, bearing in mind the diverse experiences and backgrounds of women.

Although progress has been achieved in the past few decades, legislative and public decision-making processes continue to be largely dominated by men. The latest data reveals that women make up only 24.3% of all world parliamentarians and 20.7% of all government ministers. While this represents an all-time high for women in politics, it shows women’s voices are still vastly absent from political decision-making.

Most recently, the CEDAW Committee has taken a strong stance on women’s political participation through a joint statement with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, titled “Women’s political leadership:  Striving for balance: 50/50 by 2030”.[3] Moving away from the idea that minimal targets should be set, the Committee affirmed that gender parity in decision-making should be the norm, as a prerequisite for democracy, sustainable development and lasting peace.

The CEDAW Committee has a unique approach to the role of parliaments in bringing about equality between men and women through laws, policies and budgets, and calls them to be involved throughout the CEDAW review process – namely the drafting of state reports, the dialogue with the Committee based on the report, and the implementation of the Committee’s ensuing recommendations.[4]     


The 40th anniversary of CEDAW’s adoption is a unique opportunity to draw attention to the role the Convention has played in repealing and amending laws that discriminate against women and in advancing gender equality, as well as identify solutions to accelerate positive change for women and girls everywhere. iKNOW Politics and its partners are convening this e-Discussion to facilitate an online exchange of knowledge and experiences based on the guiding questions below. Civil society representatives, women and men in local and national politics, experts, practitioners, and researchers are invited to contribute from 2 to 23 December 2019. The submissions will contribute to the elaboration of a Consolidated Reply that will be published here.


  1. Parliaments are key institutions in achieving gender equality in society. Can you share examples of how CEDAW was successful in pushing parliaments in repealing and/or amending laws that discriminate against women and girls?
  2. CEDAW calls State parties to eliminate discrimination against women in politics and public life and to ensure women can fully and equally vote and vie for elections and hold political office at all levels of government. Can you share examples of how CEDAW was used in establishing laws and practices to promote women’s political participation?
  3. Progress towards ending all discrimination against women and girls has been slow. Please share innovative methods you know of that have proved to be successful in facilitating and accelerating the Convention’s implementation, or solutions you believe would be successful.

To contribute

  1. Use the below comment section below.
  2. Send your contribution to so that we can post it on your behalf. 


[1] Harnessing the Power of Data for Gender Equality: Introducing the 2019 EM2030 SDG Gender Index, p.48. (accessed on 27 September 2019)

[2] Remarks by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, at the G7 ministerial meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Paris, France, 10 May 2019: (accessed on 27 September 2019)

[3] Joint statement issued on the occasion of International Women’s Day and the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Geneva, Switzerland, 8 March 2019: (accessed on 8 October 2019).

[4] Statement on the relationship of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women with parliamentarians, adopted by the CEDAW Committee at its 45th session (January—February 2010): (accessed on 8 October 2019).


For more than one year, the groundbreaking #MeToo movement and related Time’s Up initiative have broken taboos and sparked an unprecedented global conversation about the sexism, harassment and violence many women face in professional environments.

Women politicians have also been saying #MeToo in politics. With women comprising just 5.2 per cent of Heads of Government, 6.6 per cent of Heads of State,[1] and 24 per cent of parliamentarians[2] globally, politics is overwhelmingly male-dominated. But as in workplaces in other sectors, women are increasingly present in parliaments and elected assemblies, government bodies and political parties. As women continue to defy gender norms that have traditionally kept them out of politics, they encounter hostility and violence in these institutions.[3]

Violence against women in politics can be physical, sexual or psychological in nature. Both men and women can be affected by violence in politics, but violence against women in politics is gender-based. It targets women because of their gender and the acts of violence are gendered in form, such as sexist remarks or sexual harassment and violence. Violence against women in politics is a violation of human rights, and by hindering women’s political participation, it is also a violation of women’s political rights.[4]

An Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) global study published in 2016, and a 2018 study focused on European countries, found that violence against women in politics is widespread. Both studies revealed that more than 80 per cent of surveyed women Members of Parliament (MPs) had experienced acts of psychological violence, which included, inter alia, threats of death, rape, beatings or abduction during their parliamentary terms. The studies also revealed that acts of psychological violence against women MPs are especially profuse online and on social media. Sexist and misogynistic remarks, humiliating images, mobbing, intimidation and threats against women in public life or women who express political opinions publicly have become commonplace. Young women MPs and those women active in the fight against gender inequality and violence against women were often singled out for attack.

The studies also showed that a quarter of the women parliamentarians interviewed were the target of sexual harassment perpetrated by male parliamentarian colleagues, both from their own political party and from parties opposed to their own.

Objective of the e-Discussion

The global fight to promote women’s equal participation in decision-making and to end all forms of violence against women is receiving unprecedented attention as more women in politics speak out through the #MeToo movement. Likewise, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals have put a global spotlight on the commitments of all countries to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (SDG Target 5.2) and ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life (SDG Target 5.5). iKNOW Politics and its partners will launch this e-Discussion alongside the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Contributions in Arabic, English, French and Spanish are welcome from 26 November to 21 December 2018. The e-Discussion seeks to raise awareness on the issue of gender-based violence against women in politics and expand the dialogue on how to make political spaces safer and more inclusive for women.   


  1. What is causing violence against women in politics to occur so widely across the world?
  2. IPU reports that about half of the women MPs subjected to acts of violence do not report them to the parliamentary security service and/or the police. Reporting rates for acts of sexual harassment are even much lower. Why do you think that is? What needs to change to ensure all incidents are reported?
  3. Social media is a top place in which psychological violence (e.g. sexist and misogynistic remarks, humiliating images, mobbing, intimidation and threats) is perpetrated against women in politics. How do you explain this? How can we make sure social media is a safe space for them?
  4. Violence against women in politics makes the work of women politicians difficult and potentially dangerous and therefore unattractive as a career option. What message would you give to women who are discouraged from engaging in political life because of the fear or threat of violence? 
To contribute: 
  1. Use the below comment section below.
  2. Send your contribution to so that we can post it on your behalf.


[1] Situation as of 1 November 2018. Data compiled by UN Women based on information provided by Permanent Missions to the United Nations.

[2] Situation as of 1 October 2018. Women in National Parliaments World Average, IPU: (accessed on 6 November 2018).

[3] IPU, “Sexism, harassment and violence against women in parliaments in Europe”, Issues Brief. October 2018.

[4] United Nations, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences on violence against women in politics”, para 11. August 2018. See also UN Women, “Violence against women in politics: Expert Group Meeting report and recommendations”, 2018, and NDI, Not The Cost: Stopping Violence Against Women in Politics, 2016. 

The under-representation of women at any level of governance and decision-making results in a democratic deficit. It has been proven time and again that diverse groups make better decisions. This is particularly true when it comes to a task as challenging as representing the interests of citizens at the local level. Often influencing policies in housing, security, transport, and the economy, local government makes important decisions that affect the lives of women and men. Women’s equal participation and representation in local decision-making processes is critical for prioritizing women’s practical needs and issues in local governments’ agendas and for localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Gender-balanced local councils may be an important step in helping to attain gender balance at the national levels.

Although some countries have information on how many women and men are local councilors and mayors, a standardized system to provide comparable statistical evidence across all countries and regions has been missing until recently. Some reasons for this are the vast number of local governments and the diversity of their structures worldwide. The methodology of the new SDGs indicator on the ‘proportion of seats held by women in local governments’ (5.5.1b) developed by UN Women provides a model on how to generate comparable data across countries. The harmonized measurement and reporting of data for the SDG indicator 5.5.1b will enable to build the first global measurement of the proportion of women in local governments. This will generate strong statistical evidence that will help to raise awareness and accelerate progress on a range of aspects of women’s political participation.

In addition to measuring numbers, further information is needed on strategies to elect more women at the local level. With the focus of the 2018 CSW revolving around achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls, iKNOW Politics and its partners are convening this e-Discussion from February 2 to March 8, 2018 to seek input from politicians, experts, practitioners, and researchers on the challenges and opportunities for women’s representation in local government and its role in helping achieve gender equality and empower women at the local level.  


  1. What are the challenges that hinder women’s political participation and representation at the local governance and decision-making level? Are they any different from the challenges women face at the national level?
  2. What are the good practices that help advance women’s political participation and representation at the local level? What is the role of political parties in supporting women’s engagement in local politics?
  3. Do you know of any programmes or structures that support women elected at the local level to become leaders at the national level? Please share examples.
  4. What can local government do to achieve gender equality and empower rural women and girls?

To contribute:

  1. Use the below comment section; or
  2. Send your contribution to so that we can post it on your behalf.

Young people are often excluded or overlooked as political candidates. Politics is typically regarded as a space for politically experienced men, and while women are often disadvantaged in accumulating experience to run for office, young people are systematically marginalized because of their young age, limited opportunities, and projected lack of experience. As the increased political participation of women benefits society as a whole, the presence of young people in decision-making positions benefits all citizens and not just youth. The Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) reports that people between the ages of 20 and 44 make up 57% of the world’s voting age population but only 26% of the world’s Members of Parliament (MPs). Young people under 30 represent 1.9% of the world’s MPs and more than 80% of the world’s upper houses of Parliament have no MPs aged under 30. While young people often play central and catalyzing roles in movements for democracy around the world, they are less engaged than older generations in voting and party activism. Together, these trends have inspired many international organizations to study the lack of youth political participation and train youth activists to become political leaders.  

Recognizing the potential of youth, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) developed its first-ever Youth Strategy (2014–2017), called “Empowered Youth, Sustainable Future”, in line with the UN System-Wide Action Plan on Youth (2013) which calls on young generations to become more involved and more committed in development processes. 2013 also saw the publication of the “Enhancing Youth Political Participation throughout the Electoral Cycle: A Good Practice Guide“, UNDP’s first review of programming strategies for youth political participation beyond the ballot box. In 2016, to further boost the implementation of UNDP’s Youth Strategy and respond to both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security, UNDP launched a Youth Global Programme for Sustainable Development and Peace – Youth-GPS (2016–2020). The Youth-GPS focuses on civic engagement and political participation, among other areas, and responds to the concerns young people have expressed in global, regional and national forums and the growing demand at all levels for cutting-edge and strategic support in youth programming in all development contexts. In 2016, as a joint initiative of a number of partners including UNDP and IPU, the “Not Too Young To Run” global campaign was launched to elevate the promotion of young people’s right to run for public office and address the wide-spread issue of age discrimination.

In 2010, IPU adopted the resolution “Youth participation in the democratic process” at its 122nd Assembly and in 2013, established the Forum of Young Parliamentarians. Since then, IPU published two studies, one in 2014 and another in 2016, using a questionnaire to gather data from its Member Parliaments around the world on youth participation in national parliaments. Through these studies, IPU provides a number of recommendations for action which, if acted on, will ensure young people are fully engaged in politics. These include designing strategies by national parliaments and political parties that target the inclusion of young MPs and ensure diversity among youth, addressing the disparities between the number of young men and young women entering parliament. IPU also recommends to align the minimum age for parliamentary candidacies with the minimum voting age and to establish youth quotas (e.g. reserved seats, legislated quotas, party quotas) as a means of increasing the number of young MPs. In 2016 the IPU membership endorsed the document “Rejuvenating democracy, giving voice to youth”, based on the principles promoted by the young parliamentarians of the IPU: “No decisions about us without us”, that outlines how parliaments and parliamentarians could help rejuvenate democracy and give the world’s young people a voice in political decision-making.

In addition, UN Women established the Youth Forum at the CSW in March 2016, allowing global youth representatives to discuss the issues they face and to reflect on ways to help deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 5 on gender equality. UN Women also published CEDAW for Youth in 2016, a youth-friendly version of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) elaborated by young people. International IDEA published in 2016 a report entitled “Increasing youth participation throughout the electoral cycle: entry points for electoral management bodies” documenting the challenges and practices directed at youth inclusion in politics and within different electoral processes.

Objective of the e-Discussion

This e-Discussion seeks to bring the voices of the iKNOW Politics and UNDP4Youth communities into this growing debate on youth participation in politics. Please join the e-Discussion from 03 April to 08 May 2017. Students, young parliamentarians, political party and social movement activists, civil society representatives, youth movements and networks, government and international organizations representatives, and academia are invited to contribute with their experiences by answering to one or more of the below questions. The submissions will contribute to the elaboration of a Consolidated Reply that will augment the knowledge base available on the topic of youth political participation. We look to an informative knowledge-sharing exercise on this topic.


  1. How do you explain the low representation of young people in parliaments and governments around the world?
  2. What is an enabling environment for young people’s participation in politics, in particular young women?
  3. What can parliaments, governments, political parties, and civil society do to increase young women and men’s representation in politics? Do you have examples of good practices?
  4. What are some of the most innovative alternative methods (marches, sit-ins…) to formal political participation that young people choose to bring about change and be heard?
  5. How can we support more young people who would be interested in channelling their activism through formal political institutions?
  6. What strategies and approaches have been successful in recruiting young men and women in political parties?
  7. What can be done to support young MPs in their parliamentary career? Please share any initiatives you are aware of.
  8. How can young parliamentarians better address gender equality and women’s empowerment? Are youth more likely to be active in combatting discrimination and gender based violence?
  9. How can we best measure youth political participation and policy influence? 

Please note that there are different options to send your contributions:

  1. Login with your iKNOW Politics member credentials. If you are not a member yet, please sign up using the profile icon on the top right of this page. Please check your email to confirm registration. Once a member, you will be able to use the comment section. 
  2. Use the below comment section by signing in with one of your social media accounts.  
  3. Send your contributions to
Click here to access the summary of the e-Discussion.

As part of Strathclyde Women's Week 2024, we are focusing on the work of Humanities & Social Sciences academics whose research relates particularly to the experiences of women and girls.

Dr Stefanie Reher is a Reader in Politics at the University of Strathclyde, working within the Department of Government & Public Policy. Dr Reher's research focuses on political representation, behaviour, and attitudes.

She is currently working on several projects about the representation of disabled people in politics. Last year - in collaboration with Prof. Elizabeth Evans of the University of Southampton - she published Gender, disability and political representation: understanding the experiences of disabled women in the European Journal of Politics and Gender.

We asked Dr Reher about the barriers disabled women face to participation in representative politics, the methods behind the research and what needs to be done to improve inclusion. 

Click here to read the full article published by the University of Strathclyde on 20 March 2024.

Image source: University of Strathclyde

Female politicians have asked their male counterparts to desist from the habit of sexually harassing them, saying the vice is rampant in Uganda’s political corridors.

Speaking during a dialogue organized by the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy on Thursday (December 7, 2023), female politicians led by former Kumi Woman MP Monica Amoding and Edith Sempala, Uganda’s former Ambassador to the US, said they suffer sexual harassment from male voters, colleagues, technocrats and bosses. We have a report.

Click here to read the full article published by The New Vision on 11 December 2023.

Saratsanun Unnopporn serves as a Parliament member in Thailand.

Interview conducted by iKNOW Politics during the 145th Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 2022.

SENATE President Mabel Chinomona has condemned violence against female legislators saying it erodes trust and confidence that citizens place in their elected representatives.

Chinomona said there was a need to enact and enforce legislation that criminalised and penalised violence against women in politics.

“This legislation should include clear definitions, stringent penalties, and avenues for redress, ensuring a robust and unambiguous deterrent against such malpractices,” Chinomona said.

Click here to read the full article published by NewsDay Zimbabwe on 24 November 2023.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee has opened up about how it can be a “challenge” to raise two children as a cabinet minister and how she sometimes feels “guilty” when she struggles to find a work-life balance.

Speaking to The Baby Tribe podcast, Ms McEntee discussed life as a mother to two sons and being the first minister to take maternity leave.

She said her view “hasn’t changed” on whether women “can do everything and they should be allowed to do everything”, but she acknowledged that it is hard at times.

Click here to read the full article published by the Irish Independent on 14 November 2023.

Veena Kumar Bhatnagar is a Fijian politician who served as a member of the Parliament of Fiji from 2014 to 2022. She served as the Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

Interview conducted by iKNOW Politics during the 145th Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 2022.

This online resource will guide you in implementing the OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life. In addition to better familiarising you with the Principles, the Toolkit lets you compare indicators and good practices in use in numerous countries. The self-assessment tools will help governments assess the strengths and weaknesses of their gender policies, which in turn, will help policy makers set priorities for improvement.

Source: OECD

This action kit is a practical tool for unpacking gender responsive budgeting (GRB) and engaging parliaments and parliamentarians in strengthening scrutiny and oversight of gender responsive budget formulation, execution, and evaluation. As a result of their interventions, the budget process can be more participatory, inclusive, and effective.

This publication is directed primarily to actors who want to build an effective system for integrating GRB into the annual state budget process. This includes Members of Parliament (MPs), parliamentary staff and committees, caucuses of women MPs, as well as other actors, including UN Women or other United Nations entities who may want to initiate and support a stronger role for parliament and MPs in GRB.

The action kit is divided into sections:

  • Building government systems to support GRB through the budget cycle;
  • Parliament’s role in engaging with GRB in the budget process; and
  • Programmatic interventions to support parliaments in the GRB process.

To ensure the guidance and information provided in the publication are grounded in practice, country examples of GRB implementation and entry points for parliamentary engagement are included.

Click here to access the publication.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) today published a “Participatory Gender Audits of Parliaments, a Step-by-Step Guidance Document,” which offers comprehensive tools and detailed steps on how parliaments can fully capitalize on their potential to implement a gender-sensitive and intersectional approach to legislative processes.

The PA and ODIHR collaborated on the publication, which sets out how to implement participatory gender audits through a clear framework and step-by-step process. The Guide recognizes that each parliament is unique and will undertake the audit in unique circumstances and it allows parliaments to choose the scope of the audit, the format and the timescale within which it will be conducted. As such, it adds to the extensive OSCE acquis in support of all parliaments of the region and it is in line with institutions’ respective mandates to advocate for ensuring transparency and accountability of all parliamentary procedures, practices, and standards, including those aimed at gender mainstreaming and conducting gender audits or assessments.

The “Participatory Gender Audits of Parliaments, a Step-by-Step Guidance Document” complements the “Realizing Gender Equality in Parliament: A Guide for Parliaments in the OSCE Region,” published in December 2021, which brought together lessons learned and good practices from 46 national parliaments in North America, Europe and Central Asia on introducing and improving gender sensitivity in parliaments, on which the two Institutions have also closely co-operated.

Click here to access the report.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Gender Sensitising Parliamentary Guidelines: A Seven-Step Field Guide (‘Field Guide’) provides a blueprint for Commonwealth parliaments interested in undertaking a Gender Sensitive Parliament (GSP) review of their institutions with the objective of making their parliaments more representative and inclusive. The Field Guide builds on earlier Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarian’s (CWP) gender sensitising reports, in which a GSP is defined as a place that responds to the needs and interests of women in its structures, operations, methods, and work and is a workplace that removes barriers to women’s full participation.

GSP reviews have the potential to respond to the needs of parliamentary members and staff who identify as women or as belonging to another marginalised group, and in some Commonwealth contexts, this includes people with intersecting identities, such as Indigenous People, Black People, and People of Colour, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ People (LGBTQ+), and people living with disabilities.

Click here to access the guide.

This course, written by Dr Sonia Palmieri, explores why and how to build gender sensitive parliaments. Rich in case studies, it sketches the international framework for action and outlines opportunities for shaping contextually-appropriate parliamentary processes and norms. 

Click here to access the course.

Parliaments have a key role in ensuring not only that everyone is properly represented in decision-making, but also that legislation and government actions take account of the needs and experiences of women and men on an equal basis. However, the achievement of gender equality requires more than commitments and good intentions. It is reliant on action.

This Guide is designed to help parliamentarians, officials, civil society and democracy-support organizations undertake gender-sensitive scrutiny. It provides a model for gender-sensitive scrutiny and demonstrates how the techniques can be used when carrying out pre- and post-legislative scrutiny, conducting oversight and monitoring budgets. It also provides case studies and resources.

Click here to access the guide.

This guide is designed to help Members and staff of the Parliament of Malaysia undertake gender-sensitive scrutiny of laws, budgets, and policies.

Click here to download the guide published by INTER PARES.

This guide is designed to help Members and staff of the Parliament of Bhutan undertake gender-sensitive scrutiny of laws, budgets, and policies.

Click here to download the guide published by INTER PARES.

This practical guide is intended to support the full range of parliamentary actors — from parliamentary leadership teams, members of parliament, and political and parliamentary staff, to parliamentary practitioners and civil society organizations dealing with gender equality issues — in transforming these institutions into gender-sensitive parliaments.

Click here to access the guide.

This Primer highlights practical ways Members of Parliament (MPs) and parliamentary staff can take action to ensure COVID-19 response and recovery decision-making address women’s needs. It is informed by the differential impacts of the disease on women as documented to date, and the common needs and challenges expressed by MPs and parliamentary staff adapting to new priorities and ways of working around the world. A Checklist is included to guide MPs and parliamentary staff on gender-sensitive options for COVID-19 response and recovery both during and beyond the pandemic.

Click here to see the primer.