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Democracy and Gender

The pursuit of democracy is incomplete without policies, measures and practices that seek to reduce inequalities between men and women in all spheres of life and which anchor democracy and its intersection with gender. Democracy is supposed to transform power relations between men and women by promoting the equal distribution of power and influence between women and men.

Work Programme

International IDEA is committed to ensuring that gender equality is integrated in democracy building. As a cross cutting dimension of democracy, gender is addressed through two complementary and critical approaches; gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment. Through the global programme on Democracy and Gender as well as regional programme  initiatives (in Nepal, Bolivia and Sudan etc.) we support knowledge transfer and capacity building on gender equality and women’s empowerment  in electoral processes, political parties, constitution building processes, state of democracy assessments and democracy and development processes.

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Interview with Farid Esack
(2014-03-15)

In this in-depth interview, South African self-described feminist Farid Esack discusses issues around justice and injustice, race and racism, gender inequality and equality. Esack is a renowned Muslim scholar and activist, recognized for his work to advance gender equality and end racism. In the 1990s, Nelson Mandela appointed him Gender Commissioner; today he heads the Department of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Having grown up in abject poverty in apartheid South Africa, Esack managed to secure a scholarship for religious study in Pakistan at the age of 15. He stayed in Pakistan for nearly a decade, before returning home to form a Muslim anti-apartheid group. His activism against racism saw him detained on several occasions, and in 1990 he left South Africa again, this time to pursue a PhD in Qur’anic studies.

For Esack, the source of his deep commitment to equality and justice stems from his early childhood where he was exposed to oppression and discrimination. In his reading of the Qur’an, God always takes the side of the marginalized and the weak over the powerful, and encourages revolt against injustices when they appear. But for Esack, movements against injustices must always remember to take into account the needs and the rights of the marginalized within the community, highlighting how women and other disadvantaged groups must not be left behind in the struggle for freedom and justice. For Esack, the notion of equality and justice in Islam fits with the idea of feminism. Feminism, for Esack, is a commitment to absolute justice and absolute equality between women and men and those who identify as neither women nor men. Importantly, Esack reminds us that justice and equality is not just something that we have to practice in front of God but also in this world that we live in today and share with another, regardless of race or gender.

In this fascinating interview, Esack expand on his past, his interpretation of Islam, and what it is about Islam that makes it compatible with feminism and other struggles for justice, equality and fairness, always reminding us to see how an intersections of identities associated with class, gender, sexuality and race impacts on our lives and those of our neighbors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WSFcJW5YRM
Interview with Farid Esack
Video

In this in-depth interview, South African self-described feminist Farid Esack discusses issues around justice and injustice, race and racism, gender inequality and equality. Esack is a renowned Muslim scholar and activist, recognized for his work to advance gender equality and end racism. In the 1990s, Nelson Mandela appointed him Gender Commissioner; today he heads the Department of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Having grown up in abject poverty in apartheid South Africa, Esack managed to secure a scholarship for religious study in Pakistan at the age of 15. He stayed in Pakistan for nearly a decade, before returning home to form a Muslim anti-apartheid group. His activism against racism saw him detained on several occasions, and in 1990 he left South Africa again, this time to pursue a PhD in Qur’anic studies.

For Esack, the source of his deep commitment to equality and justice stems from his early childhood where he was exposed to oppression and discrimination. In his reading of the Qur’an, God always takes the side of the marginalized and the weak over the powerful, and encourages revolt against injustices when they appear. But for Esack, movements against injustices must always remember to take into account the needs and the rights of the marginalized within the community, highlighting how women and other disadvantaged groups must not be left behind in the struggle for freedom and justice. For Esack, the notion of equality and justice in Islam fits with the idea of feminism. Feminism, for Esack, is a commitment to absolute justice and absolute equality between women and men and those who identify as neither women nor men. Importantly, Esack reminds us that justice and equality is not just something that we have to practice in front of God but also in this world that we live in today and share with another, regardless of race or gender.

In this fascinating interview, Esack expand on his past, his interpretation of Islam, and what it is about Islam that makes it compatible with feminism and other struggles for justice, equality and fairness, always reminding us to see how an intersections of identities associated with class, gender, sexuality and race impacts on our lives and those of our neighbors.

2014-03-15
International IDEA: Working for Democracy
(2013-04-23)

In this film, find out more about IDEA's vision and mission, its key impact areas, where it works – with whom and how – to support sustainable democracy worldwide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqXv4x0G1r8
International IDEA: Working for Democracy
Video

In this film, find out more about IDEA's vision and mission, its key impact areas, where it works – with whom and how – to support sustainable democracy worldwide.

2013-04-23
Interview with President of Mongolia - Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
(Stockholm, Sweden, 2012-10-09)

International IDEA spoke with President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on his visit to Sweden Stockholm. 9 October 2012

  • What is the biggest challenge for democracy in Mongolia today?
  • In this year's election, there was a significant rise in the number of women elected to parliament. But still, women only constitute 12% of the parliament. What can be done to increase women's participation in politics in Mongolia?
  • Mongolia will now embark on a new democracy assessment in cooperation with IDEA. What would you like to achieve with this democracy assessment?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNSGsgOqlTE
Interview with President of Mongolia - Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
Video

International IDEA spoke with President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on his visit to Sweden Stockholm. 9 October 2012

  • What is the biggest challenge for democracy in Mongolia today?
  • In this year's election, there was a significant rise in the number of women elected to parliament. But still, women only constitute 12% of the parliament. What can be done to increase women's participation in politics in Mongolia?
  • Mongolia will now embark on a new democracy assessment in cooperation with IDEA. What would you like to achieve with this democracy assessment?
Stockholm, Sweden
2012-10-09

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