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Our blog provides an international platform to promote women’s political empowerment. Mina's List believes in fostering a sense of solidarity as we support women's increased political representation around the globe. Submit a blog post about you or your organization's projects.

Women’s Leadership & Peace


by Tanya Henderson, Mina’s List Founder & Executive Director 

Fifteen years ago this week, the United Nations Security Council adopted the groundbreaking Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) mandating women’s equal role in resolving global conflict and building peaceful societies. Women’s empowered leadership and equal political participation are recognized as essential to achieving long-term peace and development. While some progress has been made to ensure women’s full participation in matters of peace and security, there is still much work to be done! Only 52 out of 196 countries have created National Action Plans (NAPs) to realize Resolution 1325, and those countries with a NAP face huge obstacles in implementation. 

Give now to support women’s leadership in promoting peace! 

Over the past year, women’s rights activists in Afghanistan achieved a momentous victory when government officials approved the first ever Afghan National Action Plan on SCR 1325 to engage women’s full participation in the country’s ongoing peace transition. Recent events have proven that now more than ever, it  is critical for women’s voices to be heard to prevent the Taliban from turning back the clock on women’s rights. Afghan women must be in positions of leadership to determine their country’s peaceful future! 

Give now to support Afghan women’s empowered leadership! 

As you know, Mina’s List is in the middle of its Afghan Pilot Project, which will prepare 15 aspiring women political leaders for Afghanistan’s 2016 parliamentary elections. Because of generous donors like you, Mina’s List was able to fund a Listening Session hosted in June, where Afghan women parliamentarians and women’s rights activists strategized how to overcome the obstacles to women’s political participation in their country. Thank you so much! 

We have raised nearly all the funds needed to implement the upcoming Empowerment Workshops that will build the skills and capacity of the aspiring women leaders. To fully fund the training workshops and two-year mentorship program, we ask that you help us raise $15,000 by the time we get on the plane on Thursday, Dec. 10 (Intl Human Rights Day). 

Give $15 in honor of the 15th anniversary of Resolution 1325
Give $150 to invest in women leaders for Afghanistan’s peaceful future
Give $1500 to sponsor an aspiring woman political leader in our programs

Your support will help Mina’s List create a ripple effect that starts with peace and stability in Afghanistan and extends to the rest of the world.  

A Word from the Founder


Welcome to Mina’s List!

My name is Tanya Henderson. I am an international women and human rights lawyer with a professional background in grass-roots advocacy, policy-making and the role of women in peace building and conflict prevention.

Over the last several years, I have had the great privilege of working with women Parliamentarians from around the world. From this experience, I learned how tremendously effective a few courageous women can be when empowered as independent decision-makers in their national governments.

For example, my dear friend and colleague, Ms. Shinkai Karokhail, who is an elected Parliamentarian in the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, was the only member of the parliament to oppose a draft Shia Family Law, which included many provisions that would have rolled back women’s rights in Afghanistan -such as child marriage and prohibitions on women leaving the home without permission from a male relative. After Ms. Karokhail reached out to the international media, the President of Afghanistan decided to accept amendments to the draft law. Ms. Karokhail personally introduced over 50 amendments to make the Shia Family Law more just for Afghan women and girls.Ms. Karokhail is a powerful example of what women can do when elected to national governments and have the resources and tools to make independent decisions that advance women’s rights. Other examples include:

  • In Argentina, despite representing only 14 percent of deputies, female parliamentarians introduced no fewer than 78 percent of the bills related to women’s rights.
  • In Pakistan, women in Parliament played a key role in the passage of more than 20 laws in four years for the protection of women and children, and are at the forefront of leading rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by humanitarian crisis or extremist violence.
  • In the United States, roughly 9 percent more federal spending is brought home when there is a woman representing the district in Congress than when the district is represented by a man.
  • In Rwanda, female parliamentarians used a participatory leadership approach to build support for a domestic violence law that provided a model for strengthening other democratic process.

Unfortunately, the barriers to women’s political participation are numerous. Discriminatory laws and practices and inequities in economic and social resources largely limit a women’s option to run for elected office. Status disadvantages such as; absence of a functioning party system or backing by political parties, misogynist climate, predominately illiterate electorate, or lack of relevant networks further hamper women’s ability to run a successful political campaign.

As Rona Tareen, a candidate from Kandahar, Afghanistan reported, “I am under a burqa; people cannot recognize me. Men can go to the mosque and talk in public. Women must talk to individuals. You cannot have that same large gathering.”

So this is why I have started Mina’s List. To raise the profile and capacity of strong women political candidates who are challenging the discriminatory systems that limit women’s equal representation in national government, and who will advance the status of women and girls for now and for future generations.

I hope that you will stay tuned as we further develop our program and website - and will join our efforts to: Empower Women’s Political Participation Globally!

Warm regards,


Why the name Mina’s List?


By Tanya Henderson Esq., Founder and Executive Director, Mina’s List

People keep asking me if there is a story behind the name Mina’s List. Indeed there is!

First, the name Mina’s List is an acknowledgement of the ceiling-breaking progress that the U.S. based organization, Emily’s List, has achieved in the United States. Created by Ellen Malcolm and other smart savvy feminists in 1985, Emily’s List understood that early political fundraising was vital to getting progressive women candidates elected to political office in the United States. In 1985, women’s political representation in the U.S. Congress was a mere 4.5%. Now in 2014, women make up 19.1% of U.S. Members of Congress. Of course, the U.S. is still far from the goal of women’s equal (50%) political representation!

Recognizing that women political candidates face unique financial and social challenges around the world (in 37 countries women account for less than 10% of parliamentarians) Mina’s List seeks to offer the same opportunities and resources to others that Emily’s List strategically made available to women in the U.S. Albeit a huge undertaking, Mina’s List aims to help level the playing field for women’s political leadership globally by providing funds and resources to local women’s organizations that are supporting progressive women candidates in their own countries.

So why the name Mina? The name Mina is found in diverse regions around the world, making it a widely universal name for women. The name’s meaning differs depending on each country or language, but each meaning conveys characteristics that can be associated with strong women leaders. For example, the Dutch meaning of Mina is protector. In the Nepalese language, Mina means precious. In Afghanistan, Mina means love. In Turkish, Mina means sky, and in Japanese, Mina means everyone or all. Mina is the name of the daughter of the Hindu goddess Usha. Its English meaning is strong-willed warrior.

The story behind all of the above, and the one that is most meaningful to me, is that Mina is the name of the daughter of the woman political leader who inspired me to start this organization. So Mina’s List is also a tribute to a courageous and compassionate woman political leader, and all her extraordinary efforts and sacrifices to advance women’s rights for the women and girls of her country, and for the daughters and granddaughters of all women, for many generations to come.

Can Women Make the World More Peaceful?


By Tanya Henderson Esq., Founder and Executive Director, Mina’s List

In a recent article posted in The Guardian, entitled “Can Women Make the World More Peaceful,” Leymah Gbowee and fellow activists won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their work promoting peace in Liberia.

Researcher and author Laurel Stone found that ensuring women’s empowered political representation in national governments was key to ensuring long-term peace. Through her research analyzing the role of women in conflict prevention and peace building, Ms. Stone found that women have a positive and significant impact on peace. Results showed that women’s participation in peace negotiations increases the probability of violence ending within a year by 24%.

However, Ms. Stone’s research further showed that including women in peace processes must be accompanied by the institutionalization of gender equality once the violence has ended, and asserts that this can be accomplished by having women’s substantive political representation in national governments. For instance, she found that implementing gender quotas for national legislatures could increase the probability of violence ending within five years by 27%. Thus, lasting peace requires women at the decision-making tables in both times of conflict and in times of (relative) peace. And this is just what Mina’s List aims to achieve.

Thank you Laura, for this important contribution!

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Mina's List
PO Box 390185
Cambridge, MA 02139
Call + 1 (617) 945-2194