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Using public funding to have more women parliamentarians

International Women Day 2012 at the European Parliament

Last year, women made up less than a quarter of parliamentarians worldwide. While the number has been steadily increasing, more needs to be done. The key to having more women as representative is to influence political parties since they are the ones who choose the candidates for elections.

Many countries give public funding to political parties to even out the playing field and to make sure that private interests do not dominate politics. An idea we are exploring is linking a part of this public funding to having more women as representatives.

Now, about one in eight countries in the world are doing this. In 2017, International IDEA will be looking at the best ways of doing this are so that countries around the world are able to have more women as representatives. Countries such as Chile, Ireland, Kenya and Colombia have all linked public funding with women’s representations, and all of them have had more women parliamentarians elected.

International IDEA’s Political Finance Database has more information on this particular issue. We believe it would be good for parties to have more women candidates. As Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, said when asked two years ago why he thought it was important that his cabinet had an equal gender balance: “Because it’s 2015”.

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About the authors

Gary Klaukka
Senior Programme Officer
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