Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for Women

Authors: Mahnaz Afkhami & Ann Eisenberg
In consultation with: Lina Abou Habib, Asma Khader, Sindi Medar-Gould, & Jacqueline Pitanguy

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Leading to Action is designed for use as a learning tool by those who are challenging themselves to play a more significant political role in their communities. Women’s participation is a critical step towards reshaping economic, political, and social conditions to allow for equality in opportunities and results for both women and men. WLP’s latest publication was developed to empower women to become democratic and participatory leaders. Whether the goal is to be elected to office, support a campaign, encourage women to vote, or secure better legislation for the community, this handbook helps women hone their skills to take the next political step. Scenarios are based on criteria set by our partners and give real life examples of successes and challenges women face in the political sphere. The appendices include a glossary of terms, extra sessions, and relevant United Nations conventions that support women’s civil and political rights.

Leading to Action is structured to be used in a workshop setting, and can be easily modified by those who use it. The sessions presented are guidelines only, changeable and adaptable for the communities in which they are used. For instance, the biographies of influential people and stories about successful campaigns are only illustrative starting points for discussion, and can be substituted with biographies and stories more relevant or familiar in each setting.

 If you would like to conduct workshops using Leading To Action in your country, please write to us at wlp@learningpartnership.org 

Leading to Action can be used independently, but it shares the same values and learning framework as other WLP training materials. The political participation strategies emphasize communicating, listening, building consensus, creating shared meaning, and developing learning partnerships. These techniques create democratic, inclusive processes, and political participation strategies that are both ethical in their means as well as their ends. Just as there is no one path to political activism, there is no single approach to learning political participation skills. In Leading to Action, in addition to the political participation strategies, the learning process is itself intended to empower workshop facilitators and participants.

Table of Contents (excerpt)

  • Who We Are
  • Essentials of Political Participation
  • Guidelines for Facilitators
  • Workshop Section I: Politics and Power: Where Do I Fit In?
    • Session 1: Imagining a Better World
    • Session 2: Ethical Politics
    • Session 3: Where Do I Fit In?
  • Workshop Section II: Leading To Action: What Are My Next Steps?
    • Session 4: Identifying our Political Issue and Developing Our Message
    • Session 5: Mapping the Political Scene
    • Session 6: Core Constituency Building
    • Session 7: Networking and Coalition Building
    • Session 8: Getting the Word Out: Personal Communication Techniques
    • Session 9: Negotiation/Compromise/Non-Negotiables
    • Session 10: Measuring Success/Building on Experience
  • Workshop Evaluation Form
  • Appendices

Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for Women (2010) (217 pages)
English Edition 978-0-9814652-1-0 $29.95

Alerts & Updates
June 15, 2015 | Africa, Leading to Action, Leading To Choices, Leadership, Leading To Choices Multimedia, Political Participation, Senegal
The following article is a first-person account of an interview with Julie Cisse, Founder and Coordinator of GIPS WAR, conducted by WLP Senior Global Facilitator Lina Abou-Habib in Dakar, Senegal, May 30, 2015.
April 2, 2015 | Americas, economic empowerment, Leading to Action, Brazil, Leading To Choices, Leadership
From November 24-28, 2014, WLP Brazil/Cidadania, Estudo, Pesquisa, Informaçao e Açao (Cepia) convened the 7th Annual Institute for Women’s Human Rights (or “Human Rights Institute”) for a total of 22 participating men and women lawyers, activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. The topics covered included violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s health, the media, race/ethnicity, and the labor market.
April 2, 2015 | Africa, Leading to Action, Leading To Choices, Leadership, Leading To Choices Multimedia, Political Participation, Zimbabwe
On August 13-16, 2014, WLP Zimbabwe/Women’s Self Promotion Movement (WSPM) convened a National Training of Trainers (TOT) institute in the city of Mutare.
December 23, 2014 | Leading to Action, Leading To Choices, Leadership, Egypt, Organizational Capacity Building, Political Participation
WLP Egypt/Forum for Women in Development (FWID) has begun the third phase of an ongoing initiative to build capacity and facilitate cooperation between disparate civil society organizations (CSOs) non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout Egypt. The initiative, entitled “The Role of Civil Society in Attaining Social Justice,” encompasses diverse groups focusing on women’s rights, poverty reduction, and fighting corruption, among others. The initiative is seen as particularly important at a time when CSOs and NGOs of all types are facing increasing restrictions from the Egyptian government.
S:SSO to Sakai