Gender equality is a core goal of all VEA interventions. A recent comparative analysis of 14 countries found that a combination of factors support gender equity in politics and policy-making, including elite support and allies inside the state (Nazneen & Mahmud, 2012). Some evidence indicates that supporting women’s political inclusion requires going beyond technical tools such as women’s quotas, to a deeper understanding of how to support women’s networks of influence and their capacity to empower themselves (Tadros, 2011).
Nazneen, S. & Mahmud, S. (2012). Gendered Politics of Securing Inclusive Development (Working Paper No. 13). Manchester: Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre.
What are the implications of political settlements for gender equality? This qualitative research compares the cases of 14 countries in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and North Africa. It finds that the politics and policy-making that make political settlements are gendered. Factors that promote gender inclusive development policies and outcomes include: elite support for gender equity; coalitions with oppositional groups within the women’s movement; transnational discourse and actors creating space for gender equity; presence of male allies and ‘femocrats’ within the state apparatus; and policy coalitions exerting pressure on the state. The paper calls for greater attention to the role played by gendered ideas and ideology in inclusive political settlements.
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Tadros, M. (2011). Women Engaging Politically: Beyond Magic Bullets and Motorways (Pathways Policy Paper). Brighton: Pathways of Women’s Empowerment RPC.
Multi-country ethnographic evidence shows that parliamentary quotas are not a magic bullet for women’s political empowerment. Effectiveness depends on quotas and electoral systems, but also on the configuration of political actors’ power. Reaching a critical mass of women parliamentarians does not guarantee progress. Rather, key actors and alliances for gender equality can strengthen these parliamentarians’ advocacy for gender and social justice, enhance quota systems and demand accountability for women’s political empowerment from all political forces. Women’s collective action for equality and their networks with other political forces are critical. Donors could support this strategically.
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For further resources, see the section on gender and citizenship in the GSDRC’s gender guide.