Women of influence throughout the world are articulating a unified message: enhancing women’s political participation is fundamental to the success of democracy.
During the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last month, women political leaders made a strong call global gender equality, stressing that women’s political involvement is essential to the achievement of sustainable development and peace across all contexts.
|“We are bound by a common |
goal – to open the way for women
to participate in all decisions
affecting not only their own lives,
but the development of the world."
-Victoria A. Budson
Victoria A. Budson, the executive director of Harvard Kennedy School's Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP), was among the list of elite women leaders who attended the General Assembly side meeting, “Making Gender Equality in Politics a Reality,” on Sept. 19.
“Each country’s ability to fully utilize the talent and life experience of 51 percent of the population is critical in its ability to effectively meet the challenges of the 21st century. Our work here at WAPPP prepares women both for the electoral landscape and the policy making challenges that lie ahead” said Budson.
Others in attendance at the side meeting included: H.E. Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil; Kamla Persad-Bissessar, prime minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; and H.E. Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State.
Following the side meeting, the group issued a joint declaration with concrete recommendations on ways to advance women’s political participation. The suggestions include calling upon all states to eliminate all discriminatory barriers faced by women; to take proactive measures to address the factors preventing women from participating in politics such as violence, poverty and lack of access to quality education and health care; and to actively promote women’s political participation through affirmative measures as appropriate.
“I am heartened to see such a breadth of nations prioritizing the inclusion of women in political leadership. This augers well for the future,” said Budson.
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