How to Encourage the Participation of Young Women in Politics?

The absence of women political leaders on the world stage is highly visible.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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According to the Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM), young women are still viewed only as "wives, mothers, sisters and daughters" rather than equal members of society.

Existing barriers that were identified by the FWRM study called "Public Perception of Women in Leadership" in 2014 include cultural barriers, gender roles, prejudice, lack of support and discrimination.

The study concluded that the different themes and experiences of women leaders are essential. For this reason, they must have equal rendering indices.

How do we balance the scales?

One way is to support and empower women through sharing life stories, data and research on the trajectory and experiences of women leaders.

Another solution is to promote the leadership of women and girls at all levels of society by providing them with new spaces, modifying structures and applying laws of special measures, which allow changing attitudes and perceptions.

Committed to the cause, UN Women Liberia implemented the "Mentoring and Leadership of Young Women" program to increase their political participation. The program focuses on increasing the representation of women at both the national and local levels.

Success stories around the world

According to the World Economic Forum, "Rwanda is a surprise leader in female political participation. It ranks at the top of the list of countries with the most female MPs: 49 out of 80."

In the UK, the Youth Parliament is open to teenagers who want to use their voice creatively for social change.

Kosovo celebrated its first female president in 2011, with former president Atifete Jahjaga. Female authority became the voice of those who did not have it. Jahjaga helped young women dream big in their country and inspired them to think that the sky is the limit, if you are committed, you work hard and you put your heart into it.

In the United States, younger women have been elected to Congress like Tulsi Gabbard and Kyrsten Sinema. Both arrived at their position at the age of 30.

Women are closing the gender gap in health and education around the world, but significant gender inequality persists in politics. Democracy is not democratic without equality, while women in politics suffer violence and intimidation.


Ways to improve the participation of young women in democracy

UN Women in 2016 identified four ways to increase female participation in government:

  • Set numerical targets for women in leadership positions.
  • Expand and diversify the pool of qualified and capable women who can stand for election.
  • Increase awareness of the benefits women bring in politics.
  • Encourage their support among government institutions.

With more balanced societies, we are in a better position to achieve peace and prosperity. Young women could be an essential aspect in politics, contributing different perspectives and countless fresh ideas. By allowing young women to speak up, we could open up and advance the political world.

Karen M. Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, says that "people with different backgrounds think about questions and problems differently. They bring a diverse life experience and that problem-solving perspective, helping to change the agenda and, indeed, to come up with more creative solutions. " For this reason, increasing the participation of young women in politics is essential for the betterment of society and gender equality.

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