The full and equitable participation of women in public life is essential to building and sustaining strong, vibrant democracies.
Accordingly, the meaningful participation of women in national, local, and community leadership roles has become an important focus of global development policy. Still, some may ask why it matters if women become political leaders, elected policymakers, or civil society activists.
Why does the world need more women involved in all aspects of the political process? Women’s political participation results in tangible gains for democracy, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and more sustainable peace.
Women’s participation in politics helps advance gender equality and affects both the range of policy issues that get considered and the types of solutions that are proposed. Research indicates that whether a legislator is male or female has a distinct impact on their policy priorities, making it critical that women are present in politics to represent the concerns of women and other marginalized voters and help improve the responsiveness of policy making and governance.
There is strong evidence that as more women are elected to office, there is also a corollary increase in policy making that emphasizes quality of life and reflects the priorities of families, women, and ethnic and racial minorities. Women’s political participation has profound positive and democratic impacts on communities, legislatures, political parties, and citizens’ lives and helps democracy deliver.