Gender, Women and Democracy | National Democratic Institute

“So let me be clear: for women, violence is not a rightful or inevitable cost of participation in politics. Participation in politics is the way we end violence against women.” – Madeleine K. Albright

NDI works to support women to overcome the barriers to their equal and active political participation. These barriers are present at the individual, institutional and socio-cultural levels. For example, at the individual level, women who are actually equally qualified as men talk themselves out of running for office. At the institutional level, political organizations – like parties and legislatures – remain unwelcoming to female colleagues. At the socio-cultural level, the representation by the media of women in leadership, still tends to focus on what they wear, their marital status or their voices, as opposed to their policy positions or competence.

NDI’s focus on women’s political empowerment comes from the belief that democratic resilience requires that political systems and processes take account of the voice and agency of all populations. NDI’s multi-national approach to democratic development reinforces the message that while there is no single democratic model, certain core principles are shared by all democracies. Including women as equal participants in the decision-making that affects their lives and their communities, is both a rights issue and an issue of democratic integrity. 

Below you will find information about some of our program areas, including our work on stopping violence against politically-active women, the #NotTheCost Campaign; the Andi Parhamovich Fellowship; and the Women Mayors’ Network (WoMN).

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