Gender equality

Gender equality

Many women around the world still lack equal rights and empowerment opportunities, and face discrimination and violence. The world’s parliaments are no exception to this pattern of inequality. With a global average of just above 23 per cent women, most parliaments remain male-dominated, and women MPs often lack equal representation in senior positions or on decision-making bodies.

We feel strongly about achieving gender equality, recognizing the link between democracy and the equal participation of men and women in parliaments.

Changing parliaments is key to changing society. Women’s increasing presence and influence result in changes in laws, practices, behaviour and cultures. Our work focuses on three main objectives: increasing the number of women in parliament; supporting women in parliament to enable them to contribute effectively to policy making; and building parliaments that are gender-sensitive and that deliver on women’s rights and gender equality.

To achieve these objectives, we carry out research to track trends and identify challenges and new practices and inform strategies to support gender equality in parliament; implement capacity-building projects that support women MPs; provide legal and policy advice; facilitate exchanges between MPs; and support parliaments in engaging in gender-sensitive reform.

We have also adopted ground-breaking practices in our Organization, making us a role model. We have rules that ensure the participation of women and men in parliamentary delegations to our assemblies, and fair, if not equal, representation on our committees, groups and staff.

Women running for election face numerous challenges. Change is possible if political commitment and adequate legal and policy frameworks are in place to provide a level playing field for both women and men.
Gender equality is in the interest of both men and women, and a precondition for genuine democracy.
No country today can claim to have achieved gender equality. Huge challenges remain for women in the 21st century.