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
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.
June 15, 2015 | Africa, Leadership, Political Participation, Leading to Action, Leading To Choices, Leading To Choices Multimedia, 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 | Africa, Leadership, Political Participation, Leading to Action, Leading To Choices, Leading To Choices Multimedia, 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 | Leadership, Organizational Capacity Building, Egypt, Political Participation, Leading to Action, Leading To Choices
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