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Overcoming the Obstacles

(all materials written by Women’s Environment and Development Organization at www.wedo.org)

As the reports in this primer demonstrate, women are using various organizational strategies to overcome the barriers to their participation. These strategies include gender-sensitive campaign training for women candidates, demanding party quotas to broaden women’s electoral participation and providing support services to women legislators at the local and national levels.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the campaign training program of the Network of Women’s Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) emphasizes the acquisition and development of political skills as well as gender analysis of budget allocations and local government laws, history and functions.

The reports on Sweden and Africa demonstrate the extent to which party quotas and proportional representation contribute to raising the numbers of women in national parliaments. In the Philippines, women activists are helping women legislators develop the technical skills needed to formulate a realistic and prioritized gender-based legislative agenda. As the reports in this primer show, such alliances enable elected women to navigate the legislative process, participate actively and make meaningful interventions in committee and floor deliberations, while encouraging them to involve their constituents in decision making.

Also included in this primer are useful tools and information from WEDO’s 50/50: Get the Balance Right global campaign. Readers can use the tools to learn more about the issues, sign on to the campaign, network with organizations across all regions and plan local strategy.

Notes 1. Sweden (42.7), Denmark (37.4), Finland (36.5), Norway (36.4), Netherlands (36.0), Iceland (34.9), Germany (30.9), New Zealand (30.8), Mozambique (30.0), South Africa (29.8). 2. Djibouti (majority system); Jordan (majority system), Kuwait (mixed system), Micronesia (majority system), Palau (majority system), Tonga (majority system), Tuvalu (majority system), United Arab Emirates (members appointed), Vanuatu (majority system). Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union: www.ipu.org/wmn-e.classif.htm

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