Women make up over 50 percent of the world’s population, and yet they continue to be under-represented as voters, political leaders and elected officials.
Globally, women make up just 22% of parliamentarians. (Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union 2014) Women make up 18.5% of Congress (National Women’s Political Caucus 2013). A free and democratic society cannot emerge when half the population is not represented. Women must be given the tools and the access to participate in civil society and in government roles for global prosperity.
“Every country deserves to have the best possible leader and that means that women have to be given a chance to compete. If they’re never allowed to compete in the electoral process then the countries are really robbing themselves of a great deal of talent.”
– Madeleine K. Albright
Women’s voices, our concerns, ideas and solutions, must be heard. According to the NDI, when women participate in civil and political society we all benefit:
- Women are highly committed to promoting national and local policies that address the socio-economic and political challenges facing women, children and disadvantaged groups.
- Women are effective in promoting honest government. Countries where women are supported as leaders and at the ballot box have a correspondingly low level of corruption.
- Women are strongly committed to peace building, as they often disproportionately suffer the consequences of armed conflict. Reconstruction and reconciliation efforts take root more quickly and are more sustainable when women are involved. By helping women become participating members of a democracy, one can look to mitigate conflicts or stop conflicts before they begin.
- Women are strongly linked to positive developments in education, infrastructure and health standards at the local level. Where rates of gender development and empowerment are higher, human rates of development and standards of living are also higher.
Through education, empowerment building and economic empowerment programs, our grassroots partners are helping women find their voice and their purpose in society.