Gender Equality and Inclusion in Democracy

ITU staff members showing their support for the UN Women/ ITU Equals partnership. Photo Credit: ITU Pictures Flickr


Gender equality and women’s empowerment: constitutional jurisprudence​

This exploratory study of constitutional jurisprudence on gender equality and women’s empowerment reveals a series of important findings regarding the current state of lived realities for women living under constitutions which purportedly provide for equality between men and women and prohibit discrimination based on gender. 


Democracy building processes and institutions will remain partial and flawed if they continue to exclude or marginalise women, youth, people living with disabilities and minorities both as protagonists and as beneficiaries of democratic changes. 

Systemic and systematic marginalisation and exclusion of any segment of the population in democracy building processes and institutions undermines the architecture and promise of democracy. The need to address patterns of exclusion, structural barriers, stereotypes and unequal power relations that produce and reproduce exclusionary practices and outcomes in societies is a democratic imperative which cannot be over emphasised.

International IDEA is committed to ensuring that gender equality and inclusion is attained in democracy building. The Institute believes that 'inclusive and accountable democratic institutions and processes are only possible if gender equality and inclusion of marginalised groups in democratic processes and institutions is attained.'

International IDEA’s strategic approach goes beyond the quantitative gains on gender equality and inclusion. The Institute aims to promote and support transformative democratic processes and institutions that create abilities and opportunities to participate, be represented and contribute to democracy- building—the functioning of democratic institutions and processes, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic or religious beliefs/ background etc.  This requires enabling legal, socio-cultural, political, policy and institutional measures to reverse the trends on exclusion and marginalisation. 

As a cross cutting dimension in democracy- building processes and institutions, the work on Gender Equality and Inclusion in Democracy prioritises:

  • Providing technical advisory assistance to state and non-state stakeholders and institutions at national and regional levels on promoting gender equality and inclusion in electoral processes, constitution building, political participation and representation and democracy assessments. The technical advisory assistance inspires national and regional partners and stakeholders to implement legal, socio-cultural, political, policy and institutional measures to promote gender equality and inclusion in democracy building. 
  • Producing global comparative knowledge resources on gender equality and inclusion in democratic processes and institutions in order to analyse the challenges and explore strategic initiatives that address gender inequalities, marginalisation and exclusion. The knowledge resources are based on advocacy experiences from different contexts, analytical research of global trends and collation of information at national and or regional levels. The global comparative knowledge resources are produced as publications, databases, tools, and portals.
  • Convening national, regional and global forums and networks to inspire and contribute to the global agenda, promote peer to peer learning and knowledge sharing on gender equality and inclusion in democracy building. Through the global forums and networks, state and non-state stakeholders are enabled to share lessons learnt and good practices on the effective design and implementation of multidimensional initiatives on gender equality and inclusion. 

The work is conducted at International IDEA’s headquarters and through the regional and country programmes in all regions of the world. International IDEA also works in partnership and collaboration with other international actors. 

Tools and Databases

Networks & Partners

ACE Project
African Union
Asia-Europe Foundation
Australian National University
Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF)
Commonwealth Secretariat
Electoral Tribunal of Mexico
Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
Fortify Rights
Hanns Seidel Foundation
iKNOW Politics
Inter-Parliamentary Union
Minority Rights Group International
National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)
Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)
OECD/DAC/Govnet; Effective Institutions Partnership
Oslo Governance Center
Stockholm University
Sunlight Foundation
Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC)
UN Women
University of Gothenburg
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Contact Us

Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundu
Senior Advisor, Democracy and Inclusion
Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundu is International IDEA's Senior Advisor for Democracy and Inclusion.