January-March 2016


Democracy is equality 

The under-representation of women in politics undermines the core democratic principle of equal participation and representation. In the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals the world has made important strides to empower women and girls worldwide. 

In this newsletter we highlight International IDEA's work to increase women's participation on a global, regional, national and local level. Read about our work in Tunisia, Egypt, Ukraine as well as reflections from our regional directors in Latin America, Africa and West Asia, and Asia and the Pacific. 

Yves Leterme, Secretary-General of International IDEA 

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Gender funding gap

What does SDG 5 mean for women and girls?

The landmark adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals attest to the increasing global consensus that achieving gender equality is intrinsic to strengthening democracy worldwide. 
To translate SDG 5 into reality we need to address gender inequality, discrimination, violence and women’s unequal participation and representation.

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Photo: Flickr/Rwanda Government

Africa: Time for innovation

African countries such as Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are ranked as global leaders when it comes to women’s political representation. Yet the road towards full gender equality remains long.
The time has now come for a second generation of efforts aimed at deepening women's empowerment across Africa, and new innovative approaches. 

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Women’s representation in Egypt 

The representation of women in Egypt’s parliament is higher now than at any time in the country’s history. As such, the parliament operates in an important transitional stage, and is now tasked with reviewing legislation issued when it was not in session. Despite the challenges, this transitional stage offers a genuine opportunity to increase women’s political participation even further. 

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Japan's gender gap

The issue of how to increase women’s representation in politics has gained momentum in Japan. The Japanese Government needs to work hard to achieve its goal of ensuring that, by 2020, 30 per cent of all decision-making positions are filled by women. In this context, International IDEA was recently invited by the Sasakawa Foundation to support its project on women’s political representation.

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Photo: Flickr/Day Donaldson
Photo: Flickr/Blog do Plantalto

Latin America: Where are we headed? 

Two powerful countries in the region have women presidents and the regional average of women in parliament is above the global. 
Still, there are national differences and the results do not correspond with the growing number of countries imple-menting quotas. There is a disconnect between existing laws and the political representation secured to date.

Read more English, Spanish 


Ukraine's election through a gender lens 

Women’s under-representation has been one of Ukraine’s long standing democratic deficits, with only 12 per cent of women in parliament.
Understanding particular challenges and biases that women face during the nomination process and in campaigning, is vital to developing effective strategies for women’s political empowerment and electoral success.

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Photo: International IDEA

Upcoming event 

Photo: Mårten Kellerman

Power in our Pockets, Social Media, Money and Politics in the Digital Age 

Join us for the US premiere on 17 March 2016 in Washington DC. Opening remarks from Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, United States Federal Election Commission. Read more 




The Cost of Democracy: Essays on Political Finance in Latin America

Democracy has no price, but it does have an operating cost. Financing election campaigns is a debated issue and adequately regulating such financing is one of the great challenges for all democracies.

Drawing on experiences in a number of Latin American countries, this book offers a comprehensive and sober analysis of political financing practices in the region. It discusses the risks that current practices entail for democracy, and the best approaches to regulating the role of money in politics.


Women in Conflict and Peace (Myanmar)

What roles can women from marginalized communities play in conflict, peace-making and democratization?

This Myanmar translation of selected chapters from Women in Conflict and Peace analyses the impact of women on intrastate conflict and peace-building, concluding with recommendations that international and local actors can implement to enhance the participation of marginalized women in future peace- and democracy-building initiatives.


Constitutional Change and Participation of LGBTI Groups: A case study of South Africa

Working with leaders of advocacy campaigns, International IDEA has developed detailed accounts of struggles for constitutional equality for sexual-orientation minorities in Bolivia, Fiji, Grenada, Kenya, Ireland, Nepal and South Africa.

Building on these groups' experience and knowledge, International IDEA will develop an advocacy guide for LGBTI advocates of constitutional change in other countries. In anticipation of the guide we are making available a selection of national case studies, including this case study of South Africa.


Certification of Information and Communication Technologies in Elections

When introducing or using information and communications technologies (ICTs) in elections, electoral management bodies (EMBs) usually need to assure themselves and other stakeholders that a given technical solution is going to work.

This publication provides guidance on what the certification of ICTs for elections can and cannot achieve, outlines the relationship between the legal and technical requirements for certification, and presents a quality-assurance framework that summarizes best practices for planning and implementing certification.