Achieving gender equality and political empowerment of women is now more relevant that ever and it is a responsibility that pertains to all the local, national, regional and international actors.
This statement comes at a time when there is a global commitment, under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, to achieve gender equality and reduce all inequalities by 2030. As a result of the ongoing regional consultations that are being held by International IDEA, the Community of Democracies and UNDP, the main challenges identified are:
- A need to continue promoting equal access to education at all levels for men and women.
- A need to engage men at all levels to effectively achieve gender equality and foster the political participation of women.
- A need for regional organizations to work together with national governments to support and empower women’s capacities.
- The full implementation of international and regional legal/policy instruments designed to advance gender equality in the national legal framework.
- To achieve the political empowerment of women in the private and public sectors and secure a stronger female participation in political parties.
- To foster the creation of alliances among key stakeholders.
- To balance gender quotas depending on national and regional realities.
- To identify gaps in legal and policy instruments regionally and globally.
- To adequately channel financial resources.
In March 2016, the International IDEA-led Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy, the only platform that brings together eight of the main regional organizations to discuss democracy, held an inter-regional workshop on gender equality and a high level meeting with heads of the regional organizations that are part of the platform, to further discuss this issue.
Additionally, International IDEA, the Community of Democracies and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are working together in the implementation of the Regional Consultations Programme. This initiative aims at holding five regional consultations with focus on Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the MENA Region. The results will be published by the end of 2017 as the Inter-Regional Policy Guidebook on Gender Equality and Political Empowerment of Women.