Women's political participation in Europe and the CIS


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UNDP presentation, Louise Sperl, Bratislava, Slovakia, May 2011

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  • Progress slow and uneven: ECIS - very diverse group of countries. Ranges from countries that aim for EU oriented transition model (e.g. Eastern and central Europe, Western Balkans), to center-led transition models where political power of decision making comes from the center and is often personalized (e.g. Central Asian Republics, Belarus) to states in transition that combine the features of these two distinct models. Considerable variations : 6.5% - Georgia 9.1% - Hungary, Turkey 32.5% - Macedonia 23% - Kyrgyzstan, Croatia Refer to table with figures from the entire region Men outnumber women as ministers: Women concentrated in social-cultural functions and rarely head the ministries responsible for the economy, infrastructure, home affairs, foreign affairs, and defense.
  • Lack of party support : Parties – critical for ensuring WPP However - don’t often promote women to leadership positions (We’ll get back to PP later in more detail) Prevailing gender stereotypes Politics still perceived as a traditional “male” business Financial barriers and economic challenges: Women often lack access to adequate funds which limits ability to run for public office. This is also true for ECIS, where women lack economic resources and corporate and business networks that men have to raise money. According to UNECE majority of women has suffered economic setbacks during transition which was also exacerbated due to economic and financial crisis. Women’s increased economic dependence along with lack of access to economic resources has discouraged women from actively engaging in politics. Dual burden: Existing stereotypes also influence unequal sharing of worktime, income and family responsibilities. Impacts on women’s career advancement and appointment to decision making positions
  • Electoral systems: Women are elected in far greater numbers by proportional representation (PR) systems than by majority/plurality systems.
  • GEL: (Have list available from workspace with data from all countries) GEL – guarantee equal treatment on grounds of gender, prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination based on sex, reproductive status (pregnancy), marital status and family status GEL – at different stages of implementation in the region; also due to limited funding Election Laws: Election Laws throughout the region at different stages of implementation Major challenge: ensure Election Law is harmonized with GEL and international agreements, in particular meeting MDG 3: Requires that Law ensures more women are elected to decision making positions by using also mechanisms and strategies such as temporary special measures including quotas. Ex BiH: National stakeholders have identified need to re-examine Article 15 of the GEL: addresses equal participation of women and men in the public sphere. Experience in the implementation of Article 15 suggests necessity of its modification so as to specifically define the participation of women in the legislative and executive branch. Furthermore, the Election Law needs to be harmonized with the Gender Equality Law - as suggested in several UN reports- as well as the Law on Financing Political Parties. Given this background, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Gender mechanisms have jointly with CSOs started to work on a campaign to amend the Election Law and the Law on Financing Political Parties. This campaign shall also raise the awareness of all key stakeholders to promote women's participation in the political sphere and in decision making positions EC Gender Acquis: Objective to eliminate inequalities and promote equality between men and women throughout the Union. Mostly related to employment and occupation – still has helped establish stronger culture of gender awareness
  • Quota : Different quotas – those that are applied in the nomination process or quotas that are results-bases: eg quota that depend on how many seats a party is given. Also, women elected in far greater numbers by proportional representation (PR) systems than by majority/plurality systems. Quota therefore most effective where combined with electoral systems of proportional representation. Additional measures: If quota looked at in isolation and if not coming in a bigger package, may not yield expected results. Bigger package: may include measures that address prevailing stereotypes and structural barriers to WPP; development of capacities of both male and female MPs including for gender-responsive policy making, strengthening women’s caucuses and alliances across party lines, skills building where required (eg communications, talking to the media) Example Kyrgyzstan: In Kyrgyzstan 2005 election, no women were elected to parliament. Quotas together with long-term involvement of CSOs, helped to increase WPP. Thanks to the quota system and the new Election Code adopted in 2007, women made up 27.7% of representatives. Currently, WPP stands at 23%.
  • Don’t often promote women in leadership positions: In many cases, parties recruit women, engaging them in organisational work, especially in election campaigns. However, women often portrayed as having little political knowledge, experience and skills. Example: A survey conducted in Turkey among members of political parties and MPs before the 2007 general elections underlined difficulty of promoting women to positions of responsibility. Instead, the survey indicated that the roles given to women politicians replicated those they held at home and in their communities (supporting their male colleagues). Interesting enough though, a parallel public perception survey showed that 77% of respondents believed the most important reason why women are underrepresented is that women are not given a chance 83% of respondents said that they would like the no of politicians to rise Through this survey, challenges to WPP were raised openly and with broad coverage for the first time in a pre-election period
  • Party manifestos: Baseline research on “Gender Analysis of Kyrgyz Political Parties” analysing manifestos of political parties from a gender perspective; Voluntary quotas: In theory in place in many countries of the region, but level of implementation varies strongly. Ex Poland: Voluntary quotas have proven effective in increasing the no of women in Parliament: Prior the 2001 elections, three parties guaranteed a minimum of 30% of women in their candidate list. This led to an increase from 13 to 20% in terms of women’s representation. As of 2011, Poland has also introduced legislated quota to be tested in the next elections. Women’s caucuses: Aim to unite and empower women members within parties. Can become important bodies for women to exert greater influence over party platforms. Example: Kyrgyzstan – women’s caucuses have been created in a number of parties Croatia – In 1995 women activists founded the SDP Women Forum. Has become internal structure within the party. Held a series of seminars entitled “Women can do it”, following the example of women in Norwegian political parties. Has strongly contributed to build capacities of female politicians and to increase the representation of women within the party. Alliances of women across party lines Important to build a culture of gender equality in political life Ex Georgia: Establishment of women Parliamentary Club in the Georgian Parliament (1997) Special attention was given to role of women in peace processes in the Caucasus.
  • Developing capacities of national stakeholders to shape an environment conducive to women’s participation in decision-making has been central to UNDP’s efforts to respond to above outlined challenges. This is done through country level programming (e.g. in Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey etc) and complemented with regional and global initiatives to enhance the exchange of best practices and lessons learned.
  • Policy Note: These recommendations are being captured in the knowledge product “Enhancing Women’s Political Participation: A Policy Note for Europe and CIS”. Hardcopies are available both in English and Russian in the seminar room. It can be also downloaded from the UNDP BRC Gender Website.
  • In order to operationalize these recommendations at the country level, a regional project is currently being implemented with funding from the UNDP-JWID Fund. The project aims to capacitate parliamentarians, civil servants at decision-making levels and CSOs to enhance women’s political participation in the target countries. This is done through The implementation of country pilots (BiH, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey): In Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey, capacities of members of parliament are being developed for gender-responsive policy making. In Kyrgyzstan, the project provides technical assistance to state institutions and support women’s networks in their efforts to promote women’s political participation. The facilitation of a regional network of policy makers and advocates to exchange knowledge and enhance collective learning in partnership with the iKNOW Politics network (International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics). The iKNOW Politics provides a platform to capture best practices and lessons learned within the scope of this project and beyond. A Regional Forum where the results of the country pilots will be analyzed, presented and discussed, bringing together key stakeholders from the region. Experiences collected through this Regional Forum will be also compiled and fed back into the iKNOW network.
  • Women's political participation in Europe and the CIS

    2. 2. OUTLINE OF PRESENTATION <ul><li>Overview: Women’s political participation in ECIS </li></ul><ul><li>Legal and institutional frameworks to enhance women’s political participation in ECIS </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanisms and strategies to enhance women’s political participation in ECIS </li></ul><ul><li>Regional and country level programming </li></ul>
    3. 3. Women’s Political Participation in ECIS <ul><li>Progress to women’s political participation relatively slow and uneven </li></ul><ul><li>Considerable variations to women’s political participation (6.5% to 32.5%) </li></ul><ul><li>13 countries in the region below global average of 19% representation in national parliaments </li></ul><ul><li>In several countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Romania) women better represented at the local than at the national level </li></ul><ul><li>In all countries of the region, men outnumber women as ministers in national government. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Major Obstacles to Women’s Political Participation <ul><li>Lack of party support for women candidates & </li></ul><ul><li>politicians together with a male dominated political </li></ul><ul><li>culture </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of access to networking and training </li></ul><ul><li>opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Financial barriers to run as candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Prevailing gender stereotypes </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of politics as “dirty” </li></ul><ul><li>Dual burden of a professional career and domestic work </li></ul><ul><li>(the latter being still disproportionately carried out by women). </li></ul>
    5. 5. Success Factors for Women’s Political Participation <ul><li>According to the IPU, main success factors are: </li></ul><ul><li>Electoral system arrangements, </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation of electoral gender quotas and </li></ul><ul><li>Measures taken by political parties and other key </li></ul><ul><li>actors that shape the environment for gender quality </li></ul><ul><li>in a given country. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Legal and Institutional Frameworks to Enhance Women’s Political Participation <ul><li>Gender Equality Legislation (GEL): </li></ul><ul><li>- in place in almost all countries of the region </li></ul><ul><li>- usually also address women’s participation in public life </li></ul><ul><li>- often accompanied by Gender Action Plans, however, limited funding for implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Election Laws: </li></ul><ul><li>- need to harmonize Election Laws and GEL </li></ul><ul><li>- in several cases, provide for legislated quota </li></ul><ul><li>EC gender acquis: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>has helped establish stronger culture of gender </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>awareness </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Legislated Quota in ECIS <ul><li>Several countries in ECIS have adopted </li></ul><ul><li>legislated quota to enhance women’s representation </li></ul><ul><li>in power and decision-making, including: </li></ul><ul><li>- “New” EU Member States (Slovenia, Poland) </li></ul><ul><li>- A number of countries in SEE </li></ul><ul><li> (Albania, BiH, FYR of Macedonia, Serbia) </li></ul><ul><li>- as well as in the Caucasus (Armenia) and </li></ul><ul><li>- Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan). </li></ul><ul><li>In order to yield results/be effective – need for quota </li></ul><ul><li>to be accompanied with additional measures! </li></ul>
    8. 8. Mechanisms and Strategies to Enhance Women’s Political Participation <ul><li>Political Parties </li></ul><ul><li>Critical for ensuring women’s political participation: </li></ul><ul><li>Power to recruit, select and nominate candidates in hands of </li></ul><ul><li>political parties </li></ul><ul><li>Throughout the region, political parties don’t often promote </li></ul><ul><li>women to leadership positions </li></ul><ul><li>Efforts to address women’s underrepresentation must </li></ul><ul><li>target political parties and their views and strategies on </li></ul><ul><li>more inclusive decision making. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Mechanisms and Strategies to Enhance Women’s Political Participation <ul><li>Measures to strengthen women’s leadership in political parties in ECIS </li></ul><ul><li>Engendering party manifestos (e.g. Kyrgyzstan) </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation of voluntary quotas (e.g. Poland) </li></ul><ul><li>Establishment and strengthening of women’s caucuses within </li></ul><ul><li>political parties (e.g. Kyrgyzstan, Croatia) </li></ul><ul><li>Alliances across party lines (e.g. Georgia) </li></ul>
    10. 10. UNDP Programming in this Field <ul><li>Support to draft of Gender Equality Legislation (GEL) and/or Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Action Plans (GAPs) (e.g. BiH, Armenia, Serbia) </li></ul><ul><li>Support for the establishment of gender equality commissions in the </li></ul><ul><li>parliament (eg. Turkey) </li></ul><ul><li>Support to Electoral Commissions for better tracking how women and </li></ul><ul><li>men exercise their right to vote and have access to relevant </li></ul><ul><li>information about voting procedures and registration (Moldova) </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting policy dialogues to explore opportunities for the enactment </li></ul><ul><li>of legislated quota (e.g. Romania). </li></ul><ul><li>Support in the creation and strengthening of women wings within </li></ul><ul><li>political parties (Kyrgyzstan) </li></ul><ul><li>Support in efforts to engender political party structures </li></ul><ul><li>(e.g. Kyrgyzstan, Georgia). </li></ul>
    11. 11. UNDP Programming in this Field <ul><li>Skills development (e.g. how to present yourself in the media) as well </li></ul><ul><li>as capacity development for gender-responsive policy making </li></ul><ul><li>(e.g. Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan) </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of factors hindering greater participation in politics </li></ul><ul><li>(Kyrgyzstan) </li></ul><ul><li>Gender analysis of political parties </li></ul><ul><li>(Georgia, Kyrgyzstan) </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing Proxy and Family Voting (FYR Macedonia) </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations for the promotion of </li></ul><ul><li>women’s political participation </li></ul><ul><li>in ECIS based on six case studies </li></ul><ul><li>from the region (Georgia, BiH, Turkey, </li></ul><ul><li>Georgia, Poland, Ukraine). </li></ul>
    12. 12. Regional Project “Enhancing Women’s Meaningful Participation in Politics” (funded by the UNDP JWID-Fund) <ul><li>Objective: to capacitate parliamentarians, civil servants at decision-making levels and CSOs to enhance women’s political participation in the target countries </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation of country pilots (BiH, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey): </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity development of MPs for gender-responsive policy </li></ul><ul><li>making (BiH, Turkey); technical assistance to state institutions </li></ul><ul><li>and support to women’s networks (Kyrgyzstan) </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitation of regional network of policy makers and advocates </li></ul><ul><li>- to exchange knowledge and enhance collective learning </li></ul><ul><li>- in partnership with the iKNOW Politics network </li></ul><ul><li>Regional Forum </li></ul><ul><li>- where results of country pilots will be analyzed, </li></ul><ul><li>presented and discussed </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>Thank you for your attention! </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://europeandcis.undp.org/gender </li></ul>