Strengthening women's political participation

A woman in Afghanistan wearing a colourful veil holds up her left index finger, which has black ink on it after casting her vote.
The SDC promotes the active participation of women in elections. © SDC

Women around the world only have a limited influence on decision-making in politics, the economy, society, and even the household. The SDC is helping to ensure that women can fulfil their obligations as citizens on an equal footing as men and promotes their political participation.

SDC focus

The SDC systematically integrates gender equality dimension in its governance projects.  In democratisation processes, for example, it promotes women's political participation at the local and national levels.

In Afghanistan, which is experiencing rapid urbanisation, the crime rate is increasing drastically. In eight of the country’s major cities, citizens are enlisted to assess the security challenges and to put collective measures in place to counter them. In a process supported by the SDC, priority is given to the active participation of women.

In Benin, the SDC empowers women seeking to be involved in political office or other decision-making bodies, such as local health and water committees.

Integrating gender aspects is also a priority in local community development in the West Balkans. Through its projects, the SDC promotes women's participation in budget planning and resource distribution, and takes into account the needs and interests of women, men, girls, and boys equally.     

Context

Women are still less represented than men in decision-making bodies in government and business, where the important decisions are taken. They are confronted with obstacles, such as entrenched social prejudices, lack of time, and inadequate education, which prevent them from being involved in politics as to the same degree that men are.

Decision-making bodies must be aware of the gender dimension, and women must be duly represented in them. The SDC believes that all population groups need to be included in local governance and in development of decentralisation processes. At the same time, the impact of policies and budget decisions on women, men, children, and minorities should be analysed.