The Asian University for Women
Women in Public Service Project Summer Institute
Day 2: August 2nd
“As women parliamentarians, we need to share our experiences. This in itself will inspire women. We will not feel that we are alone in this game, and other women will not feel isolated from the process. At every opportunity, at every forum, each and every time we must share information, ideas, knowledge. We must make sure that women are the most informed people within society.”
-Margaret Dongo, MP Zimbabwe
Unblocking Challenges to Women’s Leadership: Innovative Strategies from the Ground
Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis
The gender gap in political leadership globally has been described by Secretary Hillary Clinton as one of the “great pieces of unfinished business in the 21st century.” Women’s economic empowerment and women’s political participation and leadership are inextricably interlinked with women’s empowerment. Engaging women in democratic transitions and post conflict processes is key to national development planning. At the same time, leveling the playing field for women includes eliminating discriminatory legal provisions in family laws, electoral codes, penal codes and combating violence against women both in public and private.
How do we transform politics and leadership? How do we address the masculinization of politics? How do we recreate power and leadership in the image of both men and women? How do we redefine violence against women as important security issues? At the highest level there is President Sirleaf , President of Liberia and Novelist; on day one of her first term as President she discussed the taboo issue of rape in her inauguration speech and placing women and violence against women at the forefront of her presidency and recreating gender violence as a national security issue. On the other hand, the power of role models is transformative.
Having a woman in a seat of power can be in and of itself transformative and help inspire peers and future generations of women. This session will examine case studies from around the world. Building Blocks of Change: Ensuring more women are at the decision making table, at negotiations, and in positions of leadership.
AUW Student led panel on Mobilizing Advocacy Campaigns, Forging Alliances and Partnerships and Building Effective Networks in the Asian Region:
Students will discuss transnational networks of peasants, farmers, environmentalists and women as an important force that drives international norm creation and the development of institutions. Students will discuss how local and national social movements have driven changes in the Arab World and Asia. Student leaders will discuss the resistance movement spawned by the Narmada Valley dam project and or identify a particular social movement you are familiar with. In particular, examine the impact of movements and the role of women in the movements. Students will raise to the surface women’s roles in these movements. Think about acts of resistance in everyday life in the community you live in and discuss ways in which women resist discrimination, violence and exploitation in their everyday lives.
AUW Student Leaders will divide into groups and create a strategic action program to transcend challenges:
Identify political, legal, social and cultural challenges in your community and country for women’s leadership. Strategize on ways to overcome these challenges. The Programmatic Action Plan will be presented to the plenary.
Strategies to Overcome Obstacles:
• Women’s human rights- Beijing Platform of Action, eight core human rights treaties including the CEDAW; Security Council Resolution 1325, Security Council Resolution 1820, and Millennium Development Goals
• Sharing of case studies on building women’s movements
• Networking and remaining aligned with local and national women’s groups and networks
• Building bridges with male political leaders, community leaders and religious leaders; building alliances with different constituencies
• Local, national, transnational alliances, partnerships and collaborations with grassroots, religious leaders, grassroots men and men in leadership positions
• Building women’s political caucuses and networking between and across party lines
• Campaign finance
• Building constituencies
• The role of oversight of legislators- checks and balances, accountability
• Placing women’s issues on the legislative agenda
• Gender mainstreaming into legislative development
• Gender analysis of legislation
• Gender budgeting
• Quotas for women and men in underrepresented areas of political and public life