How we work to promote gender equality

International IDEA is pleased to join the rest of the world in celebrating International Women's Day 2016.

In September 2015, the United Nations Summit adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One key SDG is Goal 5, which aims to “achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. In its nine sub-targets, SDG 5 reaffirms the importance of focusing on the well-being and the empowerment of women and girls everywhere, including in sub-target 3 on “ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership”.

While political progress has been made, challenges remain for the implementation of SDG 5 so that it translates into tangible change for women and girls across the world. It is in this framework that International IDEA prioritizes gender equality and women’s empowerment. The under-representation of women in politics undermines the core democratic principle of equal participation and representation. Since this is a key indicator of the quality of a democracy International IDEA’s work is closely linked to SDG 5 and its sub-targets.

To systematically integrate and address gender equality in all thematic areas of our work, we mainstream gender across all our programmes and internal processes, both at the regional and global level. This is particularly evident in the work of our regional programmes in Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America and Wider Europe.

In this newsletter we highlight International IDEA’s efforts in countries like Tunisia, where we continue to support women’s political participation and representation in parliament. Research on gender and political finance in Colombia aims to improve women’s access to political financing. When a gender-based analysis was conducted during local elections in Ukraine in October 2015, we provided expertise and support. Lastly, we have compiled a database and published an atlas on electoral gender quotas, in partnership with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Stockholm University.

On this International Women’s day, International IDEA reaffirms its commitment not only to Sustainable Development Goal 5, but also to tirelessly advancing women’s rights and gender equality in our global agenda on supporting democracy.

About the Author

Yves Leterme

Prior to International IDEA, Yves Leterme served as Prime Minister of Belgium from 2007 to 2011. Belgium held the Presidency of the European Union during Leterme’s tenure as Prime Minister. He then served as Deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris from 2011 to 2014.