We are excited to share a collection of nine Insights developed through a global public online consultation and in-depth discussions with peacebuilders on the ground.
Top-down initiatives such as quotas that place women leaders in political power do not necessarily translate to women’s needs being well represented.
Participants in the consultations and interviewees spoke of women who represented the interests of political families or even a rights-based agenda when, in fact, meeting basic needs such as food, shelter, and jobs ranked higher for many women than the gender of political representatives.
The disconnect between women political representatives and women leaders on the ground has led to disillusionment and mistrust, furthering fracturing women’s power base.
Without complementary investments in women organizing and inclusion from the ground-up, top-down mandates such as quotas or even gender-sensitive budgets may not be backed by the political will needed to sustain them. In more extreme cases, they may even delegitimize women in decision-making positions.
Becoming a political representative is not a universal aspiration. These complementary investments should yield a variety of options for women to join and take part in public decision-making beyond political service.
Invest in preparing women community leaders for leadership in larger arenas beyond the local and municipal level.
Train up young community leaders who have a longer runway to work from the ground up to political leadership.
Foster engagement between political representatives and grassroot leaders to connect over core issues. These sessions can be closed- door dialogues with the aim to build stronger working relationships and support on the ground.