Source:  Duncan Shaffer on Unsplash

We need to bring the law of equity, thereby pointing out the lack of gender-responsive budgeting to achieve economic empowerment as well as the lack of gender sensitisation as a hindrance to achieving women's political participation as laid out in the Beijing Platform plan of action. Also, lack of political education and education in general in accordance with the Incheon declaration.

Political accountability in the case of women should start with increasing the number of women in regional and national decision-making positions, but it should not stop there itself. They further have to be accompanied by gender-sensitive governance reforms that will make all elected officials more efficient when it comes to promoting gender equality in public policy and ensuring their implementation, in accordance to Article 25 of ICCPR.

Nations need to enact a ‘Gender Mainstreaming’ policy and ‘Gender-responsive budgeting’ on national levels which would help women overcome structural barriers in the society which was highlighted during Covid 19 pandemic. Gender Mainstreaming focuses on ensuring that a gender equality perspective and analysis is part of all policy-making whereas Gender Budgeting is the application of gender mainstreaming in the budget process, through gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budget process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality.

Analysis of the underlying factors, pertaining to structural conditions which have been a hindrance to women empowerment include:

  1. Labor market characteristics prevalent in the country;
  2. Fiscal policies introduced;
  3. Legal frameworks, regulatory and policy structures of the nation;
  4. Gender norms and discriminatory social norms.

The point 2 and 3 can be easily alleviated and enhanced further through improving women's political participation.

Recommendations to enhance women’s participation in Politics:

Globally, one of the reasons for the lack of gender sensitive norms, gender responsive budgeting and structural barriers encountered by women all boil down to the lack of women's political participation and lack of their role in the decision-making process. Under the purview of the same, International forums like the United Nations need to:

Address the need to support women leaders in gender-sensitive political institutions which would include parliament, political parties and EMBs, to attract, promote and retain women leaders, and highlight the constructive contribution they make to decision-making.

Recommend member states to use the legal instruments as well as relevant documents and thereby:

Suggest the creation of a non discrimination-transformative global policy which will guide develop regional and national initiatives accelerated to analyse and overcome racial biases and inequalities in education and the political sector;

Suggest nations to make some initiatives in order to achieve educational attainment and equal political participation of women in accordance with article number 26 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Women Peace and security agenda.

Develop and implement robust legal frameworks followed by the administrative arrangements that would better facilitate women’s participation and would thereby further include relevant substantial reforms to constitutions, gender equality laws or party statutes along with important policy actions such as establishing numerical targets for women in leadership positions which would include temporary special measures (TSMs) and necessary reformations in various party statutes.

Expand the pool of qualified and capable women to run for election, including through initiating programmes that would further boost women’s confidence as well as capacity to lead, enhancing their campaign strategies and techniques and promoting linkages with relevant supportive CSOs.

Recommend transforming gender norms so that women are accepted as legitimate and effective leaders including through developing campaigns that sensitize the media and electorate on the need for women in public life at all levels.

Suggest increasing Women’s Access to Political Institutions by the inclusion of methods which include:

Transition Participation wherein women during the course of democratic transition processes are bestowed with the opportunity to create political institutions that are more favorable to women’s political representation as well as leadership;

Political Parties where women work with political parties so that the parties can identify potential women candidates, increase public demand for women party candidates and leaders and build alliances with men to support gender equality;

Gender Integration through training, election management bodies and election observers to identify and address barriers to women’s voting prior to elections and promote trust as well as integrity in the electoral process and finally caucuses in order to establish formal or informal women caucuses to provide support inside the legislature.

Suggest and lay emphasis for the better exploration of linkages between women’s rights organizations and activists and progressive sources of International law are needed, including engagement with both national and law faculties, clinical programming focused on women’s rights under Islam, and outreach to religious leaders at a community level and this has to be addressed with reference to the fact that women in a few Islamic nations lack the right to work.

Create Special Economic Zones while noticing the economic empowerment of women which would increase the opportunities for women especially economically and the promotion of gender equality would take place and recommend the UNITAR for assisting the women for their training purposes, the creation of special economic zones will also assist the women in setting up new ventures due to the very benefits in special economic zones which overall would also promote entrepreneurship development of women and thereby the political participation.

Recommend Islamic countries who cannot go against the Sharia law should form women stakeholder’s committee which will not be a direct law-making body but a recommendatory body to the legislature and further recommends that:

  • The members shall be selected on factors like age, region, or economic status;
  • Member states in this case should follow the Zebra Policy that could ensure equal participation of men and women into the politics with each of them having equal posts alternatively.
  • Beyond that, there also lies the issue of gender-based violence acting as a deterrent to women's empowerment. One of the recommendations here would include countries adopting the UN Women Recommendation 30 from the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, in order to,
  • protect women against gender discrimination, sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced detainment and domestic violence,
  • protect female children against sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced detainment and domestic violence,
  • empower women to speak up against the violation of human rights, especially through social media channels, so that the gender digital divide can be addressed,
  • enhance political participation of women during or after the conflict in war-torn regions, so as to empower them in the peacebuilding and decision-making processes.

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  • Dersnah, Alexandra: Women in Political and Public Life.
  • UNW, 2018 and 2020 statistical datasheet.