Women play in the same soccer field and share the same spaces as men but with other rules, more unfavourable conditions and all the odds against them.”

Using her wealth of knowledge and extensive experience working with male and female politicians, Virginia García Beaudoux takes us on a deeply personal journey to set out the work that still needs to be done to ensure gender parity.

Through a series of interview with Swedish and Dutch political figures, Dancing Backwards in High Heels offers a unique glimpse into what it can mean to be an ambitious woman in an environment still dominated by males and shows that, even in countries that have made great progress towards gender equality, there is still a long way to go. With specific and well-considered recommendations, García Beaudoux stresses, however, that there is hope for the future, and sets out the pathway towards greater equality.

Politics Meets Policies: The Emergence of Programmatic Political Parties (Myanmar language translation 2016) is a Myanmar School of Politics and International IDEA co-publication and Myanmar translation of the latter’s 2014 book by the same title. It is based on the work carried out by three teams of political scientists who examined what drives and strengthens programmatic politics, even under unlikely conditions. The publication offers food for thought for political parties that are struggling to shift from personality-based or clientelistic-focused approaches—to more programme-based strategies as they reach out to voters.

‘Political party financing and equal participation of women’ is a series of studies conducted in Tunisia, Kenya, and Colombia on political party financing and womens’ roles in politics.

In Kenya, the study specifically looks into the role and extent to which access to financial resources determines the success of women running for elective positions. It discusses the main findings on financial barriers for women politicians in Kenya, and makes recommendations for political parties, politicians and potential candidates, Kenya’s electoral management body and other oversight bodies, as well as for democracy assistance providers, to facilitate reforms in this area.

The report on Tunisia makes recommendations on how reforms related to the role of money in politics could help women participate and continue to be engaged in politics. These include providing increased public funding to lists headed by women; and providing ongoing public funding to political parties, with specific funds earmarked for activities related to gender equality. Increased transparency in political parties and election campaigns could also, with time, help to balance the participation of women and men in the political sphere.

Finally, in Colombia, the study focuses on the experience of Colombia, a country that, like many other Latin American countries, continues to struggle with the legacies of pervasive social, economic and political inequality that disproportionately affect women. It explores the role of political finance in hindering women’s access to political power and its relative weight with respect to other obstacles to women’s political participation. It also suggests a number of institutional changes that might ameliorate some of the problems identified, while being fully cognizant of the limits to institutional change recasting deep-rooted gender imbalances.

Below, you can also download the NIMD-International IDEA Factsheets on women’s access to political finance in Tunisia and Kenya.

This handbook was produced in the framework of the EU-funded programme INSPIRED – Integrated Support Programme for Inclusive Reform and Democratic Dialogue. The programme operated at two levels of intervention: In Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tunisia, national dialogue projects promoted cooperation between the key stakeholders on a collectively identified policy issue. At the global level, INSPIRED aggregated and coordinated the outcomes of these projects with a view to developing an operational model for facilitating inclusive policy dialogue processes in contexts of democratic transition. INSPIRED was implemented by the European Partnership for Democracy in collaboration with seven partner organisations:

Club de Madrid
Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy
Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana
East Europe Foundation, Moldova
Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humains, Morocco
Centre des Etudes Méditerranéennes et Internationales, Tunisia
Institute of Constitutional Policy, Kyrgyzstan

NIMD has become increasingly involved in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS), or settings in which the political environment is extremely polarized and divided due to a lack of trust among political actors.

NIMD’s strategies on interparty dialogue and capacity building are highly valued in these settings, where the strengthening of political legitimacy is viewed as a pre-condition for sustainable peace, stability, and development.

In ‘Our Stories’, you can read about NIMD’s experiences working in various fragile and conflict-affected settings, including Burundi, Honduras, Colombia, and Mali. You can download the publication containing all of these stories, or you can download each story individually.

This publication, funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands, highlights the objectives, approach, and obstacles that democracy schools in Burundi face.

Together with International IDEA, we launched a new course that promotes effective political party dialogue. Experience from the field shows that even where political will exists, interparty dialogues often fail to deliver results. This module helps to bridge the gap that often exists between the ‘will to dialogue’ and actually realizing intended dialogue outcomes. Download the flyer to learn more about the module.

Organized criminal networks are global phenomena that distort local and global economic markets, spark violence and blur the role of the state in providing basic services. The main weapon used by such networks is corruption—of politicians and of many of the state apparatuses in the countries in which they operate. This undermines the basic principles of democracy and puts the state at the mercy of illicit economic interests.

NIMD, International IDEA, and Clingendael have facilitated a research study on this topic, which was conducted in 2014. This study focuses on experiences in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. The results are summarized in the publication ‘Illicit Networks and Politics in Latin America’. The authors draw on research that illustrates how relationships are forged between criminals and politicians. They identify numerous mechanisms for tackling these relations, and discuss both the achievements and the challenges concerning their practical application.

Political parties need to take positions on public issues and communicate these positions publicly. In this way, voters can see what the parties stand for and choose which party to vote for. Parties often lack the skills and experience to debate policy positions and mobilize voters around their ideas.

For this reason, International IDEA, NIMD, and ProDemos have created a Policy Positioning Tool (PPT) for political parties. The tool helps parties develop and promote their individual policy positions through an online voting application. As the level of internet access in emerging democracies increases, online applications can be a very attractive way for political parties to reach voters.

This guide describes the technical and real-world steps involved in assisting political parties in developing and using a PPT. It includes a case study on the use of the tool by political parties in Lima, Peru, and is a must-read for practitioners seeking to help political parties become more effective in their internal and external communication.

The worldwide trend towards democracy seems omnipresent. But what is the actual state of democracy worldwide? Over the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that democratic transition does not always result in democratic consolidation.

NIMD and Vice Versa, the magazine for the development cooperation sector, worked together on a special democracy edition to shed more light on these matters.