Political Participation

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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.

Alerts & Updates
January 9, 2012 | constitutional reforms, Family Law Reform, Middle East, Morocco, Morocco, Rights & Reservations: Realizing CEDAW, women's rights, Political Participation, Guide to Equality
To Mr. Abdelilah Benkirane Head of GovernmentWe are pleased to address you, after your appointment by King Mohammed VI, as Head of the Government, wishing you every success in your mission.
November 25, 2011 | 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violenc, Human Rights, Jordan, Stop Violence Against Women, Political Participation
 Each year activists, youth, local and international organizations, and governmental officials committed to eliminating violence against women participate in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. This annual campaign commences on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and lasts through December 10, International Human Rights Day.As part of WLP’s 2012 campaign activities, we held the online premieres of our Arabic, French, and Spanish subtitled-editions of the documentary, From Fear to Freedom: Ending Violence Against Women. In WLP’s film, released in 2012, leading experts and activists from across the globe discuss the root causes of gender-based violence (GBV), share strategies to combat it, and provide inspiring accounts of the important milestones already achieved through the international women’s movement.
November 4, 2011 | 2011 Events, arab spring, Bahrain, Egypt, Family Law Reform, Human Rights, Iran, Jordan, Leading to Action, MENA, Middle East, Morocco, Rights & Reservations: Realizing CEDAW, senate, ICT for Social Change, Political Participation
The following is WLP President Mahnaz Afkhami's written testimony for the hearing on Women and the Arab Spring to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operation and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues and Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Central Asia Affairs. Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony on the state of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa during this critical time of transition. 
S:SSO to Sakai