A Guide to Increasing Women’s Political Participation

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization that responds to the aspirations of people around the world to live in democratic societies that recognize and promote basic human rights.
Since its founding in 1983, NDI and its local partners have worked to establish and support democratic institutions and practices by strengthening political parties, civic organizations and parliaments, safeguarding elections, and promoting citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.
With staff members and volunteer political practitioners from more than 100 nations, NDI brings together individuals and groups to share ideas, knowledge, experiences and expertise. Partners receive broad exposure to best practices in international democratic development that can be adapted to the needs of their own countries. NDI’s multinational approach reinforces the message that while there is no single democratic model, certain core principles are shared by all democracies.
The Institute’s work upholds the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also promotes the development of institutionalized channels of communication among citizens, political institutions and elected officials, and strengthens their ability to improve the quality of life for all citizens. For more information about NDI, please visit www.ndi.org.
Deepening democracy so it can deliver tangible improvements to people’s lives is an overarching NDI objective.
Citizen Participation – Making democracy work requires informed and active citizens who voice their interests, act collectively and hold public officials accountable. NDI helps citizens engage vigorously in the political process and serves as a link between citizens and elected officials.
Elections – NDI engages with political parties and civic organizations in voter and civic education, electoral law reform and monitoring all phases of the election process. The Institute has worked with more than 300 citizens’ groups and coalitions in 74 countries, engaged with hundreds of parties promoting electoral integrity and organized over 150 international election observation delegations. NDI has also played a leading role in establishing standards for international election observation.
Political Party Building – NDI works with its partners on political party building – from internal democratic procedures and candidate selection to polling, platform development and public outreach. The Institute helps parties promote long-term organizational development, enhance involvement in elections, establish codes of conduct, mitigate political conflict, and participate constructively in government.
Democratic Governance – NDI works with legislatures around the world to help strengthening committees, legislative oversight, rules of procedure, public access to information, caucuses and constituency outreach. The Institute also helps government ministries and the offices of prime ministers and presidents function more efficiently, improve public outreach and be more responsive to the public at large.
Women’s Leadership – Since 1985, NDI has organized programs across the globe to increase the number and effectiveness of women in political life. Institute programs have supported women civic leaders, voters, candidates, political party representatives and elected leaders in the belief that as more women become politically involved, institutions will become more responsive to the needs of all citizens. At any given time, nearly 75 percent of NDI country programs have a dedicated component addressing women’s political participation – in legislatures, political parties and civil society for leaders, activists and informed citizens.

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