An inclusive democracy means that all citizens should feel represented and be heard. However, many political parties across the globe structurally exclude minority and marginalized groups. As a result, the political representation, participation and leadership of women, young people, and members of indigenous and other groups remains low.
That is why diversity and gender equality are important focal points in NIMD’s work. Through our programmes we aim to contribute to the active participation of all groups in society and the equal distribution of power and influence between women and men, regardless of their age, gender, religion, sexual orientation or ethnic background.
In our experience, it is not enough to promote a seat at the table for marginalized groups. In order to really achieve inclusiveness, it is also important to work on national legislation, to work with political parties on their internal party regulations and, last but not least, foster an open political culture. This means addressing unwritten rules and practices that exclude women and other groups from participating in the political arena.
Therefore, our activities are centered around three strategies:
NIMD also regularly organizes peer-learning events and exchange visits across and within regions. By bringing politicians, government officials, civil society representatives and women’s rights activists together, we inspire them and stimulate learning and action.
Respect for Women’s Political Rights Programme – Colombia, Kenya, Tunisia
In 2014 NIMD started a four-year programme with the aim of enabling more women in Colombia, Kenya and Tunisia, to participate effectively in politics. NIMD is organizing this programme together with three partner organizations: UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya.
Examples of work from the programme in 2015
In Colombia, we organized a conference on the portrayal of women in leadership positions by the media. The conference was based on the HeforShe UN Women Campaign. At the event several male political leaders called on the citizens’ support towards this cause.
In Kenya, the trailer we launched for the documentary on the trials and triumphs of women MPs in Kenya, at UN Women’s annual ‘Commission on the Status of Women’, was very well received. Furthermore, the first women’s wing was established within one of the largest parties in Kenya, based on the gender assessment reports we provided. Additionally, 11 action plans on the inclusion of women were formulated by parties based on these reports.
In Tunisia, we initiated a gender assessment baseline study in Arabic. The study was conducted on nine political parties in the country. We also organized a platform where political parties and grassroots civil society organizations could come together to discuss the barriers women face in politics. Another seminar on gender sensitive internal rules led to a joint commitment among the participating parties to improve the level of participation of women in politics.