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This section of the library provides examples of increased women’s political participation in specific countries around the world.
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Negotiating the Transition to Democracy and Reforming the Security Sector: The Vital Contributions of South African Women

Author: Sanam Naraghi Anderlini | A decade after the end of apartheid rule, South Africa transformed the security sector by encouraging citizen participation and emphasizing human security and development. Women of all races, views, and values played a central role in shaping the security transition, proving that women are vital to peace and security building. This paper analyzes the strategies South African women used to gain full participation in decision making and their subsequent contributions to the transformation of security policies and structures.

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Reclaiming the Progressive Past: Pakistani Women’s Struggle Against Violence and Extremism

Author: International Civil Society Action Network | This report highlights the impact of the prevailing security environment on Pakistani women, especially in conflict-stricken areas. It also reflects the positive strides women are making for participation and voice in the country. Drawing on the expertise and insight of practitioners in women’s rights, peace and security, ICAN puts current trends into context and offers recommendations for action by national and international actors to alleviate the conditions that foster extremism.

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Rwanda: The Impact of Women Legislators on Policy Outcomes Affecting Children and Families

Author: Elizabeth Powley | Less than ten years after genocide, Rwanda became first among all nations in terms of women’s political representation, with women holding 48.8% of seats in its lower house of parliament. As such, Rwanda provides a unique opportunity to examine the behavior of a national legislature that has nearly equal representation of men and women. This paper shows that, despite the constraints on their effectiveness and the enormity of the problems facing children and families in Rwanda, women in parliament have emerged as strong advocates for children and families. The paper was prepared as background in anticipation of The State of the World’s Children 2007 report.

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Women in Politics: Evidence of Legislative Change

Author: Stephanie Froimovich, Sue-Ann Foster, Midori Nozaki, Nancy Leeds, Anna Keegan, & Neha Kaul Mehra | Across the globe, an increasing number of women are getting elected to national government. By examining the national parliaments of Mexico, Uganda, and Viet Nam, this study attempts to determine whether women parliamentarians have been able to shift the debate and increase the parliamentary response on issues of gender equality. The study takes into account trends in women’s election to national parliaments, trends in gender-targeted legislation, and factors that have facilitated or obstructed the passage of key gender-targeted bills. Among the study’s findings is that the political party is the main gatekeeper with regards to women entering politics and passing legislation, thus it is important to both increase the number of women in politics and their position within the party.

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Women Politicians, Gender Bias, and Policy-making in Rural India

Author: Lori Beaman, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, & Petia Topalova | Relative to their population share, women are underrepresented in political leadership positions throughout the world. This paper uses data on the practice of mandated political representation for women in village governments in India to examine the implications of increased female representation for policy activism and children’s well-being. It also examines how such representation affects political participation by women and the extent of gender discrimination. Findings suggest that politically empowering women may have important benefits for children, and that the long term benefits from mandated political representation for women may depend significantly on the extent of gender bias.

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Women and Conflict in Afghanistan

Author: International Crisis Group | In light of Afghanistan’s security transition, Afghan women, including parliamentarians and rights activists, are concerned that the hard-won political, economic and social gains achieved since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001 may be rolled back or conceded in negotiations with the insurgents. This paper offers recommendations on how to protect women’s rights and sustain gains achieved for and by Afghan women. Afghanistan’s stabilization ultimately rests on the state’s accountability to all its citizens, and respect for constitutional, legal and international commitments, including to human rights and gender equality. There will be no sustainable peace unless there is justice, and justice demands that the state respect and protect the rights of women, half its population.

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Women’s Political Participation in Tunisia

Author: Nihel Ben Amar | The collapse of the authoritarian regime in Tunisia in 2011 has given women new opportunities to participate in political life and civil society activities. Women are standing for elections and becoming members of political parties and associations. Despite these advances, women’s political participation remains unsatisfactory and the challenge of increasing participation persists. This policy brief discusses the role of Tunisian women in politics and public life, and provides recommendations for improving their status in the areas of political leadership and decision-making.

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