Since the formation of DIPD, the promotion of women’s role in politics have been a cornerstone in the Institute’s work and a central element in many DIPD partnerships, including those in Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Malawi. Leading up to 8 March 2016, DIPD’s partners from Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar have gathered to share experiences and discuss actions for promoting women’s role in politics.
International Women’s Day
On the International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016, DIPD’s Chairman, Henrik Bach Mortensen, explains:
“Women’s role in the development of sustainable democracies is a central part of the strategy for the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy’s international work, and through this work we see on a daily basis how women deliver as central actors in building new democracies in all parts of the world – for example in Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and Malawi.”
“DIPD works specifically with supporting the development of democratic societies and the inclusion of women in political parties is a central element in this process. It is pivotal that the political parties represent women and men equally. And in order to secure women’s rights, it is vital that the equality is secured through an equal inclusion in the political parties.”
Women deliver all over the world
In 2016, a special focus will be placed on women’s role in the international, democratic development, when the global conference Women Deliver is held in Copenhagen in mid-May. Women’s role in developing and consolidating sustainable democracies around the world is also an important aspect of the strategy for DIPDs international work, through which we every day see evidence that women deliver.
Women deliver as important agent of change in developing democracies around the world.
Women deliver as leaders and champions of democracy in Myanmar. Through DIPD’s capacity development programme and multiparty dialogues, women gain confidence, competences and skills important for their political participation – now 13 percent of the elected members of Parliament are women.
Women deliver increasingly as candidates for the local elections in Bhutan, where DIPD have provided political education and training for 2.000 women resulting in a doubling of female candidates for the upcoming local election.
Women deliver as members of political parties, being instrumental in building constructive coalitions across political parties and by this creating and consolidating multiparty democracies in e.g. Malawi and Nepal.
Strong women gathered in Myanmar
Leading up to the International Women’s Day, strong women from the political parties in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Denmark gathered in Nay Pi Taw in Myanmar to share their experiences on how to overcome challenges as women in politics and realize their potential. Further, they took stock of the democratic development in Myanmar after the first free parliamentary elections in 25 years.
The women from Nepal brought experience from nonpartisan efforts towards elimination of violence against women. Their efforts have resulted in the adoption of two important laws: the Anti Witchcraft Act 2072 and the Sexual Harassment in Workplace Act 2971. DIPD have succeeded in setting gender equality on the agenda within the political parties in Nepal through a long-term partnership with the Joint Mechanism for Political Party Strengthening (JOMPOPS). All political parties have committed themselves to promote gender equality and have signed an accord on eliminating violence against women in Nepal.
The women from Bhutan shared their experiences from strengthening women’s participation in local elections through targeted mentoring, capacity development and advocacy. DIPD has provided training for 2.000 women in partnership with Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW). As a result, at the upcoming elections an increase from 7 percent to 20 percent elected women is expected.
Gup Nam Pelden was elected at the last local elections and is now member of the BNEW Steering Committee:
”Had BNEW existed in 2010-11 when I was contesting, I am positive that more women would have participated and been elected too. However, in the 2nd LG Elections of 2016, due to the efforts of BNEW, I think many women will not only stand as candidates but general public may also vote for more women influenced and convinced by the advocacy work of BNEW and agencies like NCWC. Societal mind set change takes time but I feel optimistic given the passion with which BNEW has been working and advocating for greater acceptance of women leaders.”
The Burmese themselves brought positive experiences from their first free Parliamentary election in 25 year, where the share of elected women was tripled and women now hold 13 percent of the seats in the two-chamber Parliament.
In Myanmar, Danish experiences on inclusion of women in politics are also brought to the table. Fatma Øktem (Danish Liberal Party) participates and reflects on the significance:
“When I am witnessing the challenges that face women in particular and the democracy in general in Myanmar, it is clear that we in Denmark have the ability and obligation to make a difference e.g. by sharing ideas and experiences in the area of gender equality.”
“Celebrating the 8th of March in Myanmar reminds me, that we in Denmark also must improve the situation for women experiencing particular challenges – women with another than Danish ethnic background, women in asylum and refugee centers, young mothers without education etc.”
Listen to DIPDs Chairman, Henrik Bach Mortensen, in Danish Radio P1 Morgen (in Danish)
Read the Danish version of the press release here
Read more about DIPDs programme in Myanmar
Read more about DIPDs programme in Bhutan
Read more about DIPDs programme in Nepal
Read more about DIPDs programme in Malawi