All our activities contribute to a more democratic culture where the rights of marginalized groups are protected. The dialogue platforms lead to new laws and legislation, but they also make the political parties aware of their own rules and barriers. On actor level, NIMD builds parties’ capacity to analyse citizens’ interests and needs. Parties can then bring these analysis to the policy-making table to change the rules of the game and the political culture in their country.

In addition to the activities described above, NIMD also sets up and facilitates democracy schools. In Egypt, Georgia, Tunisia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Indonesia, diversity and gender sensitivity are explicitly included in the curriculum. This is reflected in the topics that are discussed and in the mixed composition of the teachers.

In Colombia, Kenya and Tunisia we work directly with political parties to reform unwritten informal barriers and practices that impede and discourage progress on gender equality and women’s political rights.

Raising gender issues on the national agenda in Guatemala

The conservative ‘macho’ culture in Guatemala does not allow much space for women’s political participation. NIMD’s programme in Guatemala supports the Forum of Political Parties (FPP), a multiparty dialogue platform. Specifically, we have made resources available for the activities of the Commission on Full Citizenship for Women, or Women’s Commission, which aims to advance women in politics and leadership, independent of partisan ideologies.

Women’s civil society organizations in Guatemala have long been pushing for a special law to punish the killing of women, or femicide. Guatemala has the highest femicide rate in Latin America: between 2000 and 2012 over 5000 women were murdered. With the support of NIMD’s political analysis and technical support, the Women’s Commission worked with civil society and women’s groups in the drafting of a law against femicide. After a long and intense dialogue process, the law was approved in 2008. It contributed to sensitizing Guatemala’s political culture to this important gender issue.