We need more women in politics – Here’s how to make quotas work | UNDP

The low representation of women in politics remains one of the most obvious obstacles preventing us from achieving gender equality in the world. In the Republic of Moldova, a medium income country in Eastern Europe that ranks 50th in the most recent Gender Inequality Index, we want to increase the pace of change and ensure that more women are getting involved in elections as candidates, voters, and electoral staff. In a context where gender inequality is constantly dismissed as a non-issue, we had to have data to back up our claims and push for change. So we partnered with the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission and developed the first-ever national set of statistics related to the participation of women and men in elections.

Source: We need more women in politics – Here’s how to make quotas work | UNDP

We need more women in politics – Here’s how to make quotas work

AddThis Sharing Buttons

661134

image
More than 600 women attended UNDP-supported policy forums to urge Moldovan MPs to adopt the 40 percent quota for the least represented gender. Photo: UN Moldova

The low representation of women in politics remains one of the most obvious obstacles preventing us from achieving gender equality in the world.

In the Republic of Moldova, a medium income country in Eastern Europe that ranks 50th in the most recent Gender Inequality Index, we want to increase the pace of change and ensure that more women are getting involved in elections as candidates, voters, and electoral staff.

In a context where gender inequality is constantly dismissed as a non-issue, we had to have data to back up our claims and push for change. So we partnered with the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission and developed the first-ever national set of statistics related to the participation of women and men in elections.

To our surprise, the first thing we learned was that women in Moldova do get involved in politics.

At the local level, there is a massive representation of women in political parties and in electoral bodies. However, the higher the decision-making level we were looking at, the fewer women we could find. For example, even though membership rates in political parties for men and women are strikingly similar, only two out of 46 political parties in the country are headed by women.

This discrepancy is one of the reasons Moldova has recently adopted a 40 percent quota for the least represented gender in governmental offices and on the electoral lists for local and parliamentary elections. But according to our data, this has not led to the expected increase in representation for women.

While women make up nearly half of political party membership, the percentage of women members who are active in party structures declines as the geographic level increases. Source: OMNIBUS CBS-AXA, December 2015

Quotas for women and men in decision-making positions are one of the most common ways of ensuring that women don’t have to face the glass ceiling when advancing in the ranks of political parties and that they have equal chances to be represented in governments and legislatures.

However, sometimes the provisions of quota legislation can be too weak to have an impact.

In Moldova, the recently adopted law does not make any specifications about the placement of women and men in the candidate lists. This omission may seem innocuous, but the reality is that women often find themselves relegated to the bottom of lists, with only one in five candidates at the top ­being a woman.

We believe that things can only be changed if the problem is acknowledged. To reach that point, three things must happen:

  1. The electoral authority must acknowledge the problem and be cooperative in finding ways to fix it;
  2. A complete electoral database must be set up to allow for continuous in-depth analysis of data and trends that could be used to redesign public policies and bridge gender gaps; and
  3. Partnerships need to be established between the government, civil society, and international organizations like UNDP and UN Women to support the advancement of women in political and public life.

Only then will we be able to say we are moving towards a more equal world for women and men.

About the authors
thumbnail

Tanja Hollstein is an electoral specialist at UNDP in Moldova.

 

thumbnail

Victoria Ignat is a project manager for Women in Politics at UNDP in Moldova.

Follow her on Twitter:@Victoria_Ignat

Find us on

Why data is a feminist issue | Publish What You Fund

The Global Campaign for Aid Transparency. Aid is a precious resource, but to get the most out of it we need more and better aid information. Working with organisations from around the world, we call on donors to publish what they fund.

Source: Why data is a feminist issue | Publish What You Fund

 

Why data is a feminist issue

5 March was International Open Data Day. 6 March was Mother’s Day in the UK and Ireland. Today, 8 March, is International Women’s Day, a public holiday in many countries including Russia.

We already know that ‘Poverty is Sexist’, as ONE’s new report puts it. But where does data come in?

The answer is because official data, on everything from national income to death rates, is systematically biased against women, and can exclude them entirely. Here are three examples: care costs, how surveys are designed, and how deaths in childbirth are measured.

Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute looked at data from 66 countries, and found that women did 3.3 times as much care work as men – ranging from ten extra days to ten extra weeks a year. Yet none of this work is counted in national income. There is an old joke in economics textbooks that “if you marry your cleaner, GDP goes down.” But it’s no laughing matter for the women who do the bulk of caring for children and elderly relatives, often with little support.

There is more bias in the surveys that statisticians use to see how countries are developing. For instance, surveys often define a ‘head of household’ as ‘the person in the household acknowledged as head by the other members’. This is difficult to define or measure consistently: in some communities, men might be heads of household by custom, in others women might be, while in many the idea of having a ‘head’ seems outdated. Moreover, most surveys look at income or food consumption for the whole household, so if boys get better food than girls (or vice versa) we don’t know about it.

We know that many women around the world die in childbirth – but we don’t know how many. Bill Anderson at Development Initiatives found that four out of five African countries did not maintain civic death registers. Instead, they estimate maternal mortality from GDP, fertility rates and the number of midwives. That’s heroic but unlikely to be accurate. In 2009-10, Sierra Leone introduced free healthcare for pregnant women and children. Over the next 3 years, the proportion of women giving birth in a health facility doubled, but there was no significant change in the death rate. Is that because of poor quality medical care, a lack of drugs, or something else? Without good data, we’ll never know.

These omissions have grave consequences. A panel advising the United Nations noted that when we fail to count something, the message we send – intentionally or not – is that it doesn’t count. Care work is a good example.  The13081884_1014734768634627_1491773446_n44img_16491 McKinsey Global Institute estimates the value of unpaid care work at $10 trillion. When women do get paid for their work, it’s 20 to 40% less than men.

So what needs to be done to stop data from excluding women?

First, count more. Few people get excited about building civic registries or running a census, but they are critical to making sure everyone is counted. It’s not expensive: about a billion dollars a year for all developing countries together. That’s the same as the cost of political opinion polls in the U.S. alone.

Second, count better. When surveys are disaggregated by gender, the results can be surprising. The OECD has a paper by three researchers (all men, as it happens) who found that households headed by women in Thailand and Vietnam were better off, on average, than households headed by men. This was only true for women whose spouses who migrated for work, though. Widows and single women were worse off.

Third, change what is counted. National income accounts were designed in the 1940s when most people worked in farms or factories; it is time to update them. ODI suggests gathering more data on care work. Why not go further and change the definition so that it counts towards GDP? That might encourage employers to take it seriously and men to contribute to it equally.

Data has excluded women for as long as people have been keeping records. It’s time to change that.

   

Rupert Simons
This entry was posted in Blog, Data Revolution. Bookmark the permalink.

About

My name is Stacy Gleiss (a.k.a. “The Six-Foot Bonsai”) and I lived multiple lives in the course of my long Japanese affliction. I was a teen bride of a traditional man, mother of two children raised in the culture, a karaoke queen, and an interpreter for automotive industry executives.  I see the world as a tapestry of man-made systems that fall short of the grand design but as a place with tremendous potential if we open our minds to that which we cannot readily see.  I am an analyst by title; a philosopher in fact.  I write because I have a few unusual stories tell.The pages of this blog reflect what I’ve learned along the way and my mission.  Here is a summary of each:Japan is about my perverse transformation– how it was I want from being a Michigan girl to a Japanese housewife and back again. We should never give up our values and adopt those of another person or place without careful consideration and good judgement.  Links to a few stories and facts about Japan are included.Frankly, there is a seed within all of us that contains the secrets to life.  We need to carefully examine its DNA and foster its noble properties.   Jesus expounds upon my bonsai tree theme and God.For a living I am a process and quality guru.  Frankly I know lean manufacturing really well and have a knack for applying it in US factories and office environments.  I have chronicled my professional philosophies under Lean.The best way to get to know me is by this short video.  It was produced by the First Church of God in St. Joseph  MI.  Personal Testimony

Source: About

Five Years After Independence South Sudan Faces Myriad Challenges – Oximity

Source: Five Years After Independence South Sudan Faces Myriad Challenges – Oximity

South Sudan, the world’s newest country faces myriad problems five years after achieving independence, aid agencies warned this week.

South Sudan which achieved independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, is on the brink of economic collapse, development organisation Oxfam warnedTuesday.

South Sudan’s economy relies heavily on oil, and it is one of many developing countries to have suffered from low oil prices in recent years.

“Plummeting oil price and oil production all but grinding to a halt due to intense fighting have had a devastating impact on a country which depended on oil for 98 percent of its revenue before December 2013,” said Oxfam in a statement.

Over two million South Sudanese have been displaced by ongoing conflict. Credit: Jared Ferrie/IPS
Over two million South Sudanese have been displaced by ongoing conflict. Credit: Jared Ferrie/IPS

South Sudan’s inflation is at 300 percent, the highest in the world, according to the Oxfam, and the government has resorted to selling oil futures to bring in cash.

“It is not only oil futures that are being sold off. By auctioning off its main source of revenue, the government is selling off the future of its people,” said Oxfam South Sudan Country Director Zlatko Gegic.

“A crashing economy and rampant inflation are compounding the suffering millions of South Sudanese and condemning them to an even more uncertain future.”

South Sudan has a population of just over 11 million people, 2.3 million of whom have fled their homes due to ongoing violence. About 1.61 million South Sudanese are displaced within South Sudan, and over 720,000 have sought refuge in neigbouring countries according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

In addition, nearly one quarter of the country’s population, some 2.7 million people, are in urgent need of food assistance, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Almost one quarter of South Sudan's population requires urgent food assistance, says the UN. Credit: Jared Ferrie/IPS
Almost one quarter of South Sudan’s population requires urgent food assistance, says the UN. Credit: Jared Ferrie/IPS

The FAO has warned of the potential for famine in the conflict-affected Unity State, where people have been living on fish and water lilies to survive.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International warned on Wednesday that untreated depression and post-traumatic stress disorder is also a major problem in South Sudan.

Ongoing violence, including sexual violence against women, has contributed to a high level of untreated mental illnesses in the country, Amnesty said in its new report “Our hearts have gone dark”: The mental health impact of South Sudan’s conflict.

“Whilst an end to atrocities including torture, rape and murder would be an obvious urgent first step to preventing additional mental health consequences, action also must be taken to heal the damage already done, by providing victims with treatment and other appropriate reparations,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

On Friday the UN Security Council renewed its concerns about ongoing violence throughout the country, and expressed deep alarm at fighting in Wau, South Sudan.

 DW News Helen Clark on breaking the glass ceiling

img_01063113081884_1014734768634627_1491773446_n

 

 

Source:  DW News

Helen Clark on breaking the glass ceiling

A woman has yet to lead the UN – something New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Helen Clark is seeking to change. DW’s Charlotte Potts spoke with the candidate for Secretary General about the role of gender and the skills required to become the world’s top diplomat.

Through the Eyes of a Woman.. (The Things I Would Fight for)

I’ll be talking about things I’m interested in and have the will to fight for. Looking back at what’s been happening in the world, it angers me how men still look down upon women especially when it comes to employment, marriage, or education (mostly in third world countries). A lot of men in third world countries don’t agree that their wives or daughters work outside their houses because they believe that their major job is to clean the house and raise the kids. Also, even if some agreed and women did work, they still get low salaries compared to those for men. Also, when it comes to marriage, a lot of women are forced to marry young 15-21 and if a woman became 25-27 and still haven’t married, they’ll say that her train to marriage has been long gone. However, in some countries, children of ages 8-12 are being forced to get married to older men by their parents just so that they decrease the financial issue the family is having. I remember my high school teacher telling me a story of Rawan, an 8-year old Yemeni girl, who was forced to get married to a man five times her age, and ended up dying on her first night from excessive internal bleeding. I want to stop what women are going through out there and end their misery. Similarly, what happens relating to employment, also occurs when it comes to education. Women aren’t motivated enough to continue their education and as soon as they get married (mostly at young age) some leave school. Also, in some cases even if they continued school, they never go to college to pursue a degree. Nothing of this makes sense and women deserve to have every single right when it comes to being educated, choosing a husband at an appropriate age, and getting a decent job.

Source: Through the Eyes of a Woman.. (The Things I Would Fight for)

The original suffragette: the extraordinary Mary Wollstonecraft

Meet the original suffragette: Mary Wollstonecraft. The founder of feminism, a philosopher, travel writer, human rights activist, she was a profound influence on the Romantics, and an educational p…

Source: The original suffragette: the extraordinary Mary Wollstonecraft