Political Participation

Through our networks, curriculum, and trainings, WLP works to advance women’s participation in decision-making in the public sphere, empowering women to play a key role in reshaping political, economic, and social conditions that affect both women and men to allow for equal opportunities for everyone.

The struggle for women’s rights is often viewed as a struggle between tradition and modernity where tradition and cultural practices may subjugate women to the private sphere. The Women's Learning Partnership views women's rights to be fundamental human rights held by all women regardless of culture, class, or creed, and holds that women's political participation is key to achieving equal rights.

Political Participation Curriculum

Political participation consists of a broad process of engagement and of practicing active citizenship whereby women realize their full leadership potential to influence the forces that shape their lives. WLP’s political participation learning tool, Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for Women was conceived and developed in cooperation with our partners to help increase the number of women in decision-making positions by building the capacity of women to become politically engaged as democratic and participatory leaders—whether as candidates, organizers, or members of the electorate.

The manual, which is adaptable to local contexts, provides an overview of the purpose and nature of political participation and examines barriers to political participation and strategies for ethical political leadership.

Political Participation Training

Through interactive workshops, Training of Trainers Institutes based on Leading to Action and our core Leading to Choices curriculum, WLP and our partners conduct political participation trainings in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Participants include women, men, youth, students, teachers, lawyers, NGO/civil society activists, government employees, and members of the media, among others.

These trainings have also directly contributed to increasing women's political representation and advancing advocacy campaigns for women's rights in our partner countries, as grassroots women learn how to become more effective advocates for the issues that are most important to them. After completing our political participation and leadership workshops, some participants have gone on to seek public office, while other trainings have also been conducted specifically for women contesting for elected office.

International Women's Democracy Network

WLP is also secretariat of the International Women’s Democracy Network (IWDN), a solidarity network among women and women’s organizations engaged in democracy activism.

As a forum for exchange of information and knowledge, the IWDN supports women’s roles and agency in the development of democratic practices and institutions at community, national, and international levels, working to ensure women’s full political participation in such areas as non-violence, peace and conflict resolution, human rights, governance, institutional transformation, legislative reform, research, unions and political parties, rule of law, transparency and accountability, business, communications and media, elections, and political processes.

Related Stories
April 28, 2016 | 2016 Events, Africa, mauritania, political participation, Victories Over Violence, women's political participation, Leadership, Political Participation, Leading to Action, Leading To Choices, Victories over Violence, Mauritania
AFCF, WLP’s partner in Mauritania, conducted leadership trainings for female elected officials during March and April of 2016. Twenty-five women policymakers participated in total—ten parliamentarians from the capital of Nouakchott and 15 others representing various municipalities in the country.  
April 27, 2016 | 2016 Events, Africa, Beyond Equality, capacity building, Human Rights, human rights, Leading to Action, Leading to Choices, Morocco, Training of Trainers, youth, Beyond Equality, Leadership, Organizational Capacity Building, Political Participation, Leading to Action, Young & Emerging Leaders, Leading To Choices, Morocco
ADFM, WLP’s partner in Morocco, hosted a series of workshops throughout the spring of 2016 designed to provide local activists with relevant skills and knowledge for women’s rights and activism.  
March 15, 2016 | 2016 Events, Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, Leading to Action, Leading to Choices, political participation, women's political participation, Zimbabwe, Organizational Capacity Building, Political Participation, Leading to Action, Leading To Choices, Zimbabwe
WSPM, WLP’s partner in Zimbabwe, hosted a National Training of Trainers on Women’s Leadership and Political Participation for activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2016.   
December 16, 2015 | Africa, Human Rights, Beyond Equality, Leadership, Political Participation, Leading To Choices, Transitions to Democracy, Zimbabwe
Although the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for gender balance in decision-making and power, many women and girls are still unaware of their rights and how to exercise them. In response, WLP’s partner in Zimbabwe, Women’s Self-Promotion Movement (WSPM), convened 24 participants from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Women’s NGOs, academics and professional women to discuss how they can transform power relations in all spheres of life.
S:SSO to Sakai