There is growing awareness of the untouched capabilities and talents of women’s leadership. Over the past two decades, the rate of representation of women in national parliaments around the world has steadily increased, from 11.8% in 1998 to 17.8% in 2008 to 23.5% in 2018. Some regions have seen substantial increases, such as sub-Saharan Africa, where over the past 20 years, the number of women in politics has increased from 11 to 23.6 percent, and in the Arab, which has increase from 3.1 to 17.5 percent. Total global representation is still well below the 30% threshold often identified as the level of representation needed to achieve “critical mass” – a sizable minority of all legislators with significant impact, rather than a few token individuals – let alone lack of representation of women as half of the world’s population.
Women’s involvement in politics contributes to womenish equality. Research shows that whether a politician is a man or a woman has a marked impact on their political prime issues. There is strong evidence that, as more women are elected, there is a continuous increase in policy making that focus attention on quality of life and reflects the priorities of families, women and visible minorities.
Obstacles to women’s political participation
There are many religious and cultural barriers as well as social norms and attitudes towards women as leaders in politics. It is important that women have the social and family support essential to overcome this problem. It is important to highlight the benefits of having women in decision making. To introduce political parties, it is useful to have important quotas such as a minimum of 29% women in leadership structures and to have female wings within political parties. Another major threat to women is cruelty and alarming. This can be avoided by pushing through electoral codes of conduct and helping non-governmental organizations on good practices adopted in local conditions.
Economic barriers are another obstacle that women face. This can be mitigated by bringing in women in business and securing in-kind resources similar to the Womankind project and WiLDAF-Ghana provided further in-kind support to female candidates for the District Assembly local elections. Restrictions on campaign funding and measures to fight corruption should be imposed. Another barrier that women face is the lack of access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) which have also been used to attack women. Positively, ICTs can be used to raise awareness of women’s political activism and to organize advocacy campaigns such as HarassMap in Egypt.
Training and empowerment
Many women organizations play a important role in increasing women’s participation in politics, as the Women’s Political Education Forums (WPEF) of the IRI Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) have been used to increase women’s political engagement. Organizing trainings such as media skills development, campaign design and knowledge acquisition on key national and local policy issues, as well as long-term mentoring, have helped build women’s confidence to be successful.