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Challenges and opportunities for women in politics



Several international conventions guarantee women’s right to participate in political life. However, to turn an abstract right into a reality, women’s political participation requires hard work on the ground. Political parties are avenues for political participation because they recruit and select candidates for elections and set a country’s policy agenda. Women are overrepresented at the grassroots level or in supporting roles within political parties, but underrepresented in positions of power. Without access to well-established networks of influence, very limited resources, few role models and mentors, and sometimes even limited family and community support, it is understandable that women’s political party participation has remained significantly lower than that of men. Because political parties have such a strong influence on women’s political empowerment, civil society organisations (CSOs), international organisations, and development assistance providers have increased their attention to the role of political parties. Women continue to be excluded from governance structures that determine political priorities around the world.Women have traditionally been barred from participating in state structures that determine political and legislative priorities.

             Women currently have only 21% representation in the world’s parliament, which determines political and legislative priorities. In fact, women’s representation has increased by 3.8% since it was 17.2% seven years ago. The Nordic countries have the highest proportion of women in single or lower houses of parliament, with an average of 42%. Europe, Africa, and Asia are close behind, accounting for 19-20% of total seats. In the world’s parliament the proportion of women ministers is lower, averaging 16 percent. The proportion of female heads of state and government is even lower and has been declining in recent years, standing at less than 5% in 2011. This demonstrates that, despite accounting for half of the world’s population, women are underrepresented in decision-making forums. According to some research findings, women spent most of their time in the house and other domestic service rather than involved in the political issues compared to men (Meaza, 2009). Women’s lack of experience and maturity in politics does not make them equal to men in decision making. Due to a lack of political awareness and the role of male dominance in state management, its institution believes that men have a monopoly on senior positions (Ahmed, 2010). However, there is still a problem with women’s full participation in their own affairs.

              Equality in politics serves as a lever, without which it is extremely unlikely that the equality dimension can be fully integrated into government policy-making. In this regard, women’s equal participation in decision making is critical to the overall process of women’s advancement. Equal participation of women in decision-making is not only a demand for basic justice or democracy, but it can also be viewed as a necessary condition for women’s interests to be taken into account. “Women’s participation in democracy through politics is without doubt an important step towards social equality, economic development and national and international peace.” Without women’s active participation and the inclusion of women’s perspectives at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development, and peace will not be realised.