Regional Workshop on Women’s Participation in Local Governance: 'Exploring the Way Forward'
Representing over a half of the nation’s population, women on the national and sub-national level are still under-represented in Asian political arena.
Asia-Pacific studies reveal that elected women leaders practice a style of leadership that is participatory, inclusive, and consultative leading to increased transparency in local governance. Elected women are viewed as reliable, responsible and honest and as making a difference in their community: given their different operating styles, male councillors can observe and learn from them.
The right moment has come for governments, civil society and the international community to come together and decide on the next action plans to ensure women participation in governance, especially on leadership opportunities that have an additional multiplier effect on empowering women and girls. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)'s Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) believe that to realize meaningful and lasting changes in women empowerment and equality it is fundamental to provide women with continual opportunities for capacity development in decision and policy making process. Cross organizational partnerships among governments, multi-lateral agencies, civil society in support of women participation in local governance need to be sustained and reinforced.
On 17-19th November 2014, the regional workshop on Women’s Participation in Local Governance ‘Exploring the Way Forward’ was organized in Bangkok jointly by UNDP and USAID.
The UNDP report ‘Gender Equality: Women’s Participation and Leadership in Governments at the Local Level, Asia and the Pacific 2013’ was presented for the first time to the public on this occasion.
The workshop presented a good balance of plenary sessions and working group discussions, to come up with recommendations on good practices and set of activities that can contribute to greater women’s leadership and participation in improving local governance in the region. Perspectives of women in local government, as well as engaged in civil society, were presented.
In particular these topics were discussed:
- Electoral Systems
- Data Collection, Data Management and Development of M&E Framework
- Gender-Sensitive Budgeting
- Policy Solutions to Addressing Prevention of Violence against Women
- Impact of the Political Environment on Women’s Leadership at the Local Level
UNDP and USAID country offices in the Asia-Pacific region, UNESCAP, UN Women Asia Pacific Regional Office and Partners for Prevention (UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and UNV regional joint program for gender-based violence prevention in Asia and the Pacific) actively contributed to the organization and successful implementation of the workshop. The 120 participants from approximately 20 countries in the Asia Pacific region included several women politicians/political leaders, local government officials and key civil society leaders active in government oversight and policy making, as well as relevant UN and USAID staff involved in local governance and gender.