Money is essential for the operations of political parties, and particularly affects candidates in electoral processes. Political financing regulations can effect women’s access to run as candidates, be elected, campaign and reach out to the population. Regulations on political funding are used to level the playing field in electoral competition. They can also work to ensure that women are able to compete on a more equal footing with men. This in turn may result in women’s increased political participation; a key feature of democracy.
Funding regulations need to be context specific and respond the realities on the ground. iKNOW Politics is seeking to collect information on laws, regulations or practices that have been put in place to address challenges women face in raising money in politics. We would like to know about good experiences in this area, in particular related to the following questions:
- Are there formal (legislated) mechanisms that work to level the (financial) playing field between women and men candidates? If so, what are they (e.g. spending limits, campaigning time limits, disclosure, reforms to public funding that may benefit women)?
- Are there adverse effects for women candidates in the existing laws on political finance? What can be changed, or what provisions could be strengthened (e.g. ensuring enforcement of campaign finance regulations, including disclosure; prohibition of illicit funding)? Are there any controls in place?
- How have political parties addressed the gender funding gap (e.g. voluntary – not legislated – practices such as internal fundraising mechanisms, in-kind contributions for campaigns)? If so, what are they?
- Are there differences in how women and men candidates spend their campaign funds? E.g. higher spending for women due to lack of security, childcare costs, etc.
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Women are not supported financially in elections
Women are not supported financially in elections
Topic which you have listed is in question is among the most important topics on the political development of a woman.
My example is related to the recent parliamentary elections held in Kosovo in January 2011.
Recent trends in Kosovo, during the parliamentary elections, have shown three forms of support that women:
1 - Women without any political experience, but their families have created capital, only in the postwar period, and who were mainly women in their professions which have not been any better performance;
2 - Women which had the support of several male members of the party, and who have had other interests in supporting this group of women.
3 - Women that were political activists that have built their career step by step and wherever they have been working they had great performance, but did not have sufficient financial means to develop the campaign. These women are often overlooked.
This made me to think deeper about young women who have ambitions to enter the political career or young women leaders which lead to the path of policy.
1-There is no legal mechanism to regulate campaign financing between men and women. Women's campaign finance mainly by small family budget.
2 - Should be strengthened law and regulations on the financing of political parties and added control. Side effects of non-functioning of these laws and regulations has created weak women in political positions in parliament.
3 - Women supported in the form moral, but not financial. Law on elections in Kosovo is favorable for women. Every third candidate in the electoral rolls is female. After the Assembly elections, 30% of women must remain, which have the minimum number of votes. This form of selection of the poor woman made in Parliament, while without this form would not have been the representation of women in Parliament.
4 – Election campaign distinguishes men from women. Men spend more; have more opportunity to donor found by various firms and promise more. Women are not able to because they have promised for the future security policy.
Drita Kadriu ; Political Adviser to the Minister of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Kosovo
Representation of women in political parties
I would like to congratulate this brilliant comment and the measures taken to help this wonderful country of Mali. As an expert in political anthropology and the issues of kind since this country expanded global expertise (the glass ceiling and electoral parity in a global context, a more than universal global concern), the question of the representation of women in political parties demand course of reforms and national actions. However it seems to me that expertise of environments (our bottom-up and up and down approaches) is capital especially in situations of daily conflicts or post-conflict larger scale.
1. already to understand that women in the regions are not just pawns being manipulated by political parties
2. then to accept that their "intelligence" even if illiterate for a vast majority, must just be better valued and better equipped to be a true fair approximation with the intellectual "from the top".
The risk would be otherwise falling back into simplistic stereotypes on the part of brilliant women of this country and their organizations, to the satisfaction of the political parties who already understand vulnerabilities and possible manipulations inside even fragile and precarious militant groups solidarity and associative female.
We therefore initiated "a political project" (study of the conflict) and socio-economic complex "EAA" which contains all electoral tensions and reforms structural and behavioural to teach our leaders as well as strategies for achieving their objectives, see our site www.reso-femmes.org.
The question of funding arises therefore at our level, in terms of research and expertise at fair and variable scales: how to organize women's national campaigns and links operational and effective sustainable with women "of the base"? How to avoid that they are not only discursive but strategically organized with groups of women in areas highly active and which gently reform in their own way, their own traditional authorities? and finally how the experts who sit in international debates and argue that already favourably on these issues (close collaboration between civil society, governmental organizations and international forums, must avoid any institutional absorption and win to definitely assert that the urgency of political funding and those socio-economic should no longer be distinguished (our recent submissions 2013).
I am referring also to an exceptional approach of consultation undertaken at the Swiss mission in New York in March 2013, or other initiative such as the GFFD ' Education and other tools for empowerment and against violence "and beyond the issues of the Millennium development goals, seeks to promote an agenda post efficient 2015 by various experts in the field.
RESO-women International, actively participates and has specialized since its programs along the cultural and anthropological to take into account in the post agenda 2015.
Its Institute for construction expertise aims multi-situees collaborations and errors no longer repeat for security and general well-being of women. The experience of Mali, country of democratic progress until recently, shows how the is question in connection to its fragile institutions (health, education, environment) that decentralization could not fully resolve.
The leaders of the regions such as those of the capitals of Bamako and Ouagadougou, we saw them at work and studied for more than 10 years. the results of our expertise and research at our humble level, are thus intended to foster dialogue and understanding of the women already in their participatory internal structures. Our results published show that even with the most extreme obstacles, our leaders resist and advance the quality of our training.
So your comments and feedback will be also in favour of the progress of our programs. I thank Iknowpolitics for having encouraged and invited to share women from around the world on these subjects at the heart of the contemporary news.
Nadège CHELL, Anthropologue policy
specialist and expert on globalization
President of RESO-women, International and West-African Network
Political funding for women: requesting advice
In a lot of countries world wide women's representation in parliaments is of great concern and one of the key hindrances identified through most researches has been lack of financial resources available for women to run successful campaigns. To this effect I would like to know whether there are organisations out there who have looked at providing political funding for women to run effective election campaigns? If there are there, how does one get access to such funding?, please advise.
Contribution of International Organizations
Thank you for your comment. In response to your query about international organizations provision of support of women in the electoral process:
Yes, there are many organizations which support women in campaigns and elections. These organizations include UNDP, UN Women, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), OAS (which works in Latin America and the Caribbean) and USAID.
There are many entry points for international organizations promoting women in campaigns and elections. These include training women candidates on successful campaigning, facilitating networking with women organizations, conducting research on funding of election campaigns, supporting reform processes (internal political party reform and electoral system reform), providing incentives for parties fielding women candidates, supporting gender mainstreaming in electoral management bodies. ..
We invite you to read more information in the following publications:
NDI & UNDP Handbook “Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women's Political Participation” (Chapter 2: Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns); https://www.ndi.org/files/Empowering-Women-PolitParties-ENG_0.pdf
UNDP primer on “Electoral Financing to Advance Women’s Political Participation: A Guide for UNDP Support”. (http://iknowpolitics.org/en/2013/05/electoral-financing-advance-women%E2%80%99s-political-participation-aguide-undp-support)
Or visit the websites of
International IDEA: http://www.idea.int/elections/index.cfm
The iKNOW Politics team
Political Financing for women
In my country, there is no legislation put in place to finance women during elections. Some parties wave the money for the purchase of forms for the women but there is a strong argument that women will not be given the chance to pick the party ticket considering the fact that their male counterparts who have spent a fortune for the party is asked to just let go.
The much Women NGOs do is to print campaign materials for the women aspirants and build there capacities in areas related to campaigns and leadership.
Women only source their funding from their families and friends.
Political financing young women
It is true that women, especially young women, who want to participate in politics lack support from their community first because of culture and male domination in the party systems. We need to join and give them hope that they will make it!
I believe that women need to be honest. The political arena, worldwide, is not ready to give us room unless there is a specific short-term gain. Therefore, a woman deciding to be involved in politics should not count on a party's funding (she still may ask) but she should organize fundraising events and find other funding venues knowing that she should prepare herself financially meaning that money will come out of her own pocket.
When more women will get involved in politics then funding will come up for sure.
Political financing of women
In Ghana, there is no constitutional backing to support women who want to run for political power. There has however been efforts to support women through the establishment of a "women's fund" which hasn´t seen day light. Women, because of traditional and cultural barriers, find it difficult to solicit funding. Women are being called names like: Margaret Thatcher (may her soul rest in peace), Iron Lady, witch, etc. Women sometimes are asked to sleep with men they approach for support. Again, some organizations who usually want to help end up giving out materials such as posters, and t-shirts which come later.
The political environment really requires cash to be able to help solve some domestic challenges of the electorates, and this is where women fall short. We have the ideas, we give them hope, but we are unable to help solve their immediate challenges, like school fees, medical bills, etc.
My hope is that African leaders must be compelled in a way to fully support women to be able to succeed in achieving the MDG's we have set for ourselves.
We must first of all seek first economic power and all other things shall be added into us.
Almost all the political
Almost all the political parties allow women to pay 50% of what their male counterparts pay when it comes to filling of nominations. It is also very difficult for a woman to contest certain positions within a party, for example party chairman, General Secretary, organizer. Women are in most cases limited to the position of women organizer, treasurer. But some women have broken the glass ceiling in Ghana, though not easily.
Financing women in elections
While it is true that women have no resources or funding that support their entry into the political arena, nonetheless, guaranteeing and securing financial resources by itself can not secure places for women in the top decision making processes.
Supporting women during elections and in election campaigns is essential, and it works effectively by examining other variables and cross-cutting edges that keep women outside the political area: Securing finance, support of the political parties, cultural social and political transformation of the societies (a long process that can pave the way for women to occupy political seats), challenging gender roles and deconstructing the dominant images about women roles in governance and politics. On the other hand, many measures need to be in place to secure women's places in governance and the political apparatus (i.e. affirmative actions that grant women seats in the political space, and then finances can boost these places). Securing the political parties effective participation in generating and creating more spaces for women.
I think that finances by itself will not lead into quality changes in women's inclusion, other factors need to be equally considered.
It is equally important to diversify the financial resources in elections. Political parties, state and government agencies, international donors, NGOs and civil society organization must all gather efforts in one front to address the issue and to participate effectively in bringing real changes. Thank you!
Political financing for Women in Kenya
In my country there is no policy regulating political financing for women. Of late a law has been enacted to fund political parties during campaigns. Parties use the money to fund campaign activities of the presidential candidate. It follows therefore that a woman would only benefit from this if she is a presidential candidate. Politics here is therefore reserved for rich women. It is not possible for an ordinary woman to get into politics. Many a times the women are said to be involved in affairs with rich men in order to get money for their political activities. This explains why when most women are elected to political positions they add no value to the status of women in society since they are at the mercy of their political masters. But the few who get there out of their own struggle do a good job. Countries therefore need to have laws that will enable women to get political funding if the women are to hold a firm position in the political arena.
Funding Women in Politics
This has been a first time round up call for Kenyan women to rise up to power. The Constitution laid down an opening for women representative to the National Assembly and other positions like, Governors, Senators and County Representatives. This was meant to give space to women to come out to leadership and it was actually a wake up call to women who voiced their will and came out in numbers but many of them never made it because of resources. NGOs and international organizations like UNDP came up and assisted in printing material in support. Parties that were stable financially could chip in an assist the candidate.
Most of the women candidates get support from family and friends. Therefore, I would like to know whether there are organizations out there that can support women in politics and how do I access them?
THE WOMEN'S POLITICAL FINANCING , MALI
Unlike many countries, Mali has not yet formally adopted the quota system for women in politics. However, some measures have been taken to promote women's participation in political life. The government agreed to focus at the level of funding of political parties, those with a large number of women have at least 10% of women in elections. Although this rule does not require the parties to establish quotas, it encourages, through funding, to ensure that at least 10% of the candidates on their lists are women. This incentive can be a decisive factor for the inclusion of women on party lists in the main election. Because we know how limited are resources and how political parties are dependent on public funds. Better in the new constitution based on the work of the CARI (French acronym of Administrative Commission for institutional reforms) and should be submitted to a referendum on 29 April 2012, it was even planned a "legal favoritism" in favor of women, paving the way for quota system even if the percentage itself is not determined by the new law of the land. Unfortunately the putsch of 22 March 2012 was foiled this ambitious project. However, it is found that more and more women are going into election races and manage to get famous results despite this handicap funding.
Need I remind you that the charter of political parties was established by order of 10 October 1991? It is defined as "a set of principles that govern the life of the parties" and "codify rules for the formation, operation and financing" is intended for. Changes are made by a law of 7 July 2000 by an Act of 18 August 2005.
The charter of political parties provides for public funding of parties by financial assistance from the state in the budget of the state at 0.25% of revenue. The criteria for allocating this aid involve women's issues. So 10% is donated proportion to the number of elected women (5% for MPs, 5% for local councilors).
Mr. Moussa Cisse
Political Financing for Women in Nepal
Nepal applied Mixed Election in Constuent Assembly Election (40%FPTP and 60% List PR). 197 women out of 601 won the election including government nomination. It is difficult to women to contest in the election, especially, FPTP part. Women are considered weak and political party leaders do not incourage women to participate in the high level dialogue and agreements. legally women have secured property rights, but is not implemented in the real life. So, women are economically weaker position. It is difficult to raise fund to women. So, election system should be developed according to the situation of the least developed country like Nepal. In my openiom, election commission or government should create a formal forum to discuss the election agenda of the candidates. All candidates should be invited in the forum and express the ideas. Otherwise it will be hard to women candidates during CA Election Second.
Financing mechanisms in Somalia
There are hardly any existing government-led or otherwise, funding mechanisms nor support in place for Somali women to take up political aspirations/positions. Traditionally Somali women were absent from decision-making outside the family level. Most of the decisions made at the community level evolved around conflict resolution and other clan affairs, which were dealt with in all-male ad-hoc assemblies - "justice under the tree". Women, although belonging to their father’s clan, were never represented in these assemblies. Their role was limited to private consultations, their husbands made with them on the matters at hand. And even these consultations were kept at a low profile in order not to undermine the man’s role of as a public decision-maker. This absence and exclusion of women from decision making in top leadership positions of their country has other negative consequences for them. Among these are:
1. Lack of acquisition of the necessary experience for taking part in public decision-making
2. Perpetuation of the negative attitudes regarding women’s ability to lead and govern,
3. Lack of role models of women leaders for young women and girls
4. Important decisions reached without women’s view-point
5. And lack of interest in decision-making by most women as political positions have been stereotyped into male roles
6. The Somali community in general and Puntland in particular is a patriarchal society and frown upon the idea of women leadership.
7. Majority of women are illiterate thereby reducing the pool from which to identify potential candidates.
8. Financial constraints and being vulnerable is discouraging some potential women to shy away from the candidature for elective posts
9. Women have a lot of duties in the house hold setting thereby making it difficult for them to get time for campaigns and other attendant activities to the vying for elective posts.
All these factors in turn reinforce women’s absence from decision making and a vicious cycle is created.
In the case of Puntland, The Ministry of Women Development and Family Affairs (MWDAFA) with the support from UNDP Somalia will be organizing to conduct a 3-day training workshop starting on the 14th if May 2013 and ending on the 16th of May 2013 in Garowe. In that meeting MOWDAFA aims to prepare and equip 120 women to vote for fellow women candidates as well as run for local elections which will start June 30th 2013; to present the list and names of potential women candidates and to encourage women to support each other through votes, campaigns, lobby and advocacy
We will post the report on this website in due course.
Resources for further reading:
1. Clan leaders: major obstacle to somali women’s political participation http://operation1325.se/en/blogg/clan-leaders-major-obstacle-to-somali-w...
2. Somali women fight for promised share of parliamentary seats http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/08/01/...
Gender Technical Adviser/Consultant
Garowe, Puntland, Somalia
Women in Cambodia are culturally restricted to only act within the house and to serve only the households. If she dares to act for the common interest of society she would be considered shaming the family. Even though this kind of cliche has gradually decreased but the mindset of most of people, low-educated or even the strictly religious, still prevents women from accessing positions of leadership. Cambodia needs more serious mechanisms to safeguard and bring women into all spheres of public life.
Women in N/Eastern Kenya are the most disadvantaged in politics
Politics in Kenya is corrupt as is the situation throughout the horn of Africa.Financial constraint has discouraged many women from political participation .This compounded by many other factors including gender inequalities, social discrimination, cultural and religious restriction and the great influence of patriarchal background. Women are not allowed in any public spheres regardless of educational background. This social injustice is back dated as early as 15th centuries which restricts women for fear domination in public spheres. Women and girls are allowed education.
It's never in the history that northern Kenya elect a women in parliament,although this constitution favors for the post of women representatives. Recommendations:
Fund for women to support political campaigns;
Community sensitization for women in leadership;
Challenge the community norms that devalue women;
Women empowerment programs.
Political Financing for Women
It is true that funding is key to women's effective participation in politics. However, money is just one of the many sources of hindrance to women actively taking part in politics and for that matter being part of decision making bodies. The questions is "if there is money to help women in politics but there are barriers such as lack of political will, illiteracy, cultural and religious norms, practices and beliefs etc, what happens? The answer is obvious that money alone would definitely not help to achieve the objective of increasing the presence of women in the political arena.
Money is very essential in this day of our democratic dispensation especially in Ghana. Campaigns during elections in Ghana has become very expensive. Attractive billboards, posters, T shirts, fliers and others are requisite to push politicians forward. Aside this, people in the campaign team need to be motivated most times financially before helping one to win power. This has led to issuing out of items such as cloth, motor bikes, cooking utensils, food items, money and more to electorates just to win votes. This practice requires funding.
In the case for men, they are able to raise funds from many sources including friends, individuals, old boys associations, club members and many others. Women on the other hand are generally poor and therefore cannot contribute alone to help support their fellow women in pursuing political activities. If this is achieved, that is when the plight of women could be adequately addressed. Women know what affect them and therefore are able to make decisions that rightly have positive impact on them. Therefore, if men are the sole representatives in parliament for instance, and other higher places, decisions made by them are those that are likely to only positively impact on them and not their female counterparts. This is the main reason why there is the need to get more women into politics and other decision making bodies.
In the case of Ghana once more, it is realized that Political Parties are also to blame for the limited number of women in politics. Political Parties have remained male-dominated sine independence. The issue of nominating women to stand for Parliamentary election has not been well addressed. It is the view of some Political Parties that the results of elections are not based on gender but on popularity. In this case, ethnic compromises are more the norm than gender compromises.
One would just say that in the case of Ghana and other African countries, aside funding, the sure way of getting more women into politics may include the following:
* Amendments in the electoral Laws,
* A change in the Political System
* Introduction of Quotas
* Proportional Representation in Parliament
* Reserved seats for women
* Fielding women in safe seats
* Changes in the Political Party Structure
* Affirmative Action with specific measures to redress the causes of discrimination of women in our political history
* Dealing with the religious and political practices to prevent women fro accessing positions of leadership and
* The media portraying positive image of women by highlighting the invaluable skills and contributions of women.
When a candidate addresses, directly or indirectly, the economic interesr of a particular section that candidate is financially supported by that section. Though poor people are numerically more, affluent section alone get their candidate elected by expensive campaign. Women candidate ideally to represent women, but women as a section in society are left out without proper economy share. Even aspiration is less since their economic and political interests merged with their men. When we build social movement that will address and motivate women with their distinct economy interests, the candidates field by them will be supported by them
women parliamentarians-australia and the pacific project
Political Financing for Women
iKNOW Politics E-discussion
The Pacific region has the lowest representation of women in parliament in the world. While there are a number of factors contributing to this, it is certainly the case that limited access to funding for electoral campaigning is one of the most significant.
Pacific women traditionally have a lower economic status than men. This has two consequences for women’s political leadership: 1) women are less able to save the required amount of money to pay their nomination fees, and 2) they lack the professional and business networks that generate the financial support needed for their campaign. The Beijing + 15: Review of progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in Pacific Island countries and territories found that in the Pacific, this is compounded by women’s reluctance to leave well-paid positions (often in the public sector) to risk losing an election. Electoral systems in some Pacific countries are also more susceptible to vote or preference buying.
There are very few laws on political campaign financing in the Pacific. One stand-out example is Papua New Guinea’s Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (2001) which provides some financial incentive to political parties to put forward women candidates. This law states that if a woman candidate gets 10 per cent of the votes in her constituency, the Central Fund Board of Management is required to refund 75 per cent of expenses incurred during her campaign (see Elise Huffer, 2007, Desk Review of the Factors Which Enable and Constrain the Advancement of Women’s Political Representation in Forum Island Countries).
Despite the challenges, work continues to assist women in running for office in this region. In 2008, A Guide to Campaigning for Pacific Women was jointly produced by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the UNDP with funding from the Australian Government. One of its key messages in terms of campaign financing is that it takes both money and people: “Even if you don’t have a lot of financial capital, use your ‘human capital’. Rely on your personal networks - your family, your friends, your fellow church-goers, people you know who are in community groups and sporting mates.”
A new initiative, which I am particularly proud of, is the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships project. Established in 2013 with funding from AusAID and in partnership with the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Australia Region Committee, this project aims to support Pacific women in politics. One of its main activities will be to foster peer-to-peer mentoring and training between Australian and Pacific women, including candidates. This will see, for example, Pacific women coming to Australia to spend time in their mentor’s shoes to learn about campaigning, public speaking and self-assertion. We believe that this kind of peer support is precisely what will make a difference in turning around the low levels of women’s representation in Pacific politics and we look forward to that future change.
Lisa Baker MLA
Chair, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Australia
Financing Women Political Campaigns
Money is one of the essential elements that facilitates the election of women and increase their participation in politics. In Liberia, this is key and one must have sufficient money to transport potential votes at rallies, feed them, print tee shirts, fliers and on top of that give them money to buy their time. The candidates also need to pay their campaign teams and keep them motivated. Our whole electoral process has been commercialized and the people with the cash carry the highest votes. This is just one aspect of the challenge that women are faced with in Liberia. Let’s look at religious and cultural beliefs and practices that limit women participation in politics and decision making. In some cases, women have to get permission from their spouses to participate in non women traditional roles. Sometimes the community asks the women to with draw from politics and other sectors- tell them this is not for women.
The three branches of government, private sector, civil society and traditional council are male dominated. If you have a parliament that is full of men who do not see women as equals in politics and decision making what do you hope to achieve?
Liberian women activists have tried to push and lobby with their parliament to pass into law a bill called “Gender Equity Law”. This bill when passed into law will increase participation and representation of women in political process. This bill is to amend the New Elections Law of Liberia, to provide for fair participation and representation of women in political processes at the political party level.
The media has served as a big road block for getting women elected into political offices- they portrayed women in negative ways and give the public wrong impression. Recently a woman got elected into the Liberian senate, the media has not seen a competent woman but they have seen a wife of a representative. During the campaign, most of the news stories covered by media either started with her husband name, she was always linked to her husband. Her husband is in parliament and all the stories the media carried after she won the bi election focused on her husband and not her as a trained and professional journalist who has worked in the cooperate world for over ten years. Here is one news headline “ the wife of Representative Lawrence has won the senatorial bi- election in Grand Bassa”.
I am not saying money is not essential however, we need to pay keen attention to other barriers that I have listed above that have inhibited women’s political participation.
In Liberia, we think political parties are to share in the blame for low women representation in parliament. Political parties create conditions like calling meetings in the nights, their parties are male dominated and they say that women should learn to play the game like men.
Here are some suggestions for getting more women in politics;
1. Liberia must pass the “Gender Equity Act” this is an affirmative action that must be taken;
2.Political Parties put forward more women candidates;
3.A change in the political structure and systems;
4.Policies to address causes of discrimination of women in the political space;
5.Handling religious and cultural practices that limit women participation in politics and decision making;
6.The media promoting positive image of women and highlighting their contributions to society;
7.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf give public statement that support the Gender Equity Act;
8.Empower women financially and give them a strong voice to be able to articulate their messages.
While I agree ...
While I agree with most of the comments about options and mechanisms for supporting women to participate in politics, I believe that we have jumped several steps ahead.My issue is that because women have been, and continue to be in environments which teach them that there is no place for women in decision-making (from within the family, let alone at national or regional level), we should start by empowering women by highlighting their capacities, to an extent that they themselves believe that they can indeed participate in decision making and can lead communities and nations!
Even in instances where mechanisms are in place - funding, quotas and others - women are not supported to be confident enough to make use of such opportunities. For instance, in Lesotho during the 2005 local government elections, women were given a 30% quota and needless to say, the next headlines would be about how women Councillors were failing!!
Let us start by empowering our communities – children, men and women – for them to realize the strengths that they have before even providing the perks for participating. I have observed women councillors in meetings where they would go, sit, listen and go home when it’s time to go – without highlighting the critical issues that they or their communities face, but just listening to the discussions and conclusions and merely acting as messengers. They did not feel comfortable to openly participate and be part of the decision-making as they have been socialized not to!
Political parties are themselves not even comfortable to address the gender gap and they mainly do it only of there are quotas or some legislative instruction or requirements.
The other side of the coin
I do agree that political financing for women is very crucial. Howev -er, we should think of 'good practices or measures' whereby such financing will reap the objectives is instituted for. I have seen political parties financing their female candidates and definately in some instances the supported woman get into decision making postions. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes such women - for instance such women who join parliament - fail to support women concerns just because they are 'tied' with the so called party position or as it is usually referred to in uganda - 'collective responsibility'. As we all know most of us live in patriarchal societies where the majority in any political party would definately be men. I know the few women who chances to penetrate into such political parties struggle internally (within the political party) to float women concerns but numbers fail them and at the end of the they come out supporting the party position as collective responsibility and which sometimes might be 'anti-women' - all because they were financed by that party to secure their positions. Therefore' in my view the challenge is even more than just raising money in politics, but also managing to secure political finances that will NOT make women lose their identity and independence in decision making.
Political Financing for Women
Reforming the financial costs for political campaigning.
By Drude Dahlerup, professor, Stockholm University
It is a serious problem for women’s political empowerment that more and more money are needed for electoral campaigning. In general fewer women than men have access to the financial means needed for an effective electoral campaign. For one group of female candidates this is a specific serious problems, namely for those female candidates who are not elected, and who may have spent a large sum of the family’s money. Many of not willing to take this risk and consequently abstain from a candidature.
The way forward is firstly, to work against the trend that more and more money are being spent during electoral campaigns. Expensive commercials in TV are seldom empowering the voters and giving them new information, but rather make citizens passive political consumers. Secondly, the amount of money spent by individual candidates should be diminished and instead the political parties, not the individual candidate, should cover most of the cost of campaigning.
Some good news. A few countries have now passed a new kind of legislation, which provides special incentives for political parties to recruit more women for their candidate lists or as elected:
In Georgia, a provision was introduced in December 2011 into the Law on Political Unions, stipulating that the election subject, receiving funding from the state budget will receive 10% supplementary funding if in its nominated party list (during municipal elections – in all lists) it will include at least 20 % candidates of a different gender in a group of every 10 candidates. (Art 30.7 (1), Organic Law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens, 1997 (as of 2012), see the global quota web site, www.quotaproject.org.
In Colombia, 5% of the total state funding for the political parties will be proportionally distributed to the parties that they have elected women in the national institutions (Article 17 of the Law1475, 2011).
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