Achieving Millennium Development Goal 3: Women in Politics
By admin March 10, 2015




The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were established and agreed upon at the United Nations’ Millennium Summit in 2000. One of the eight Millennium Development Goals is to promote gender equality and empower women by advancing women’s political participation and leadership and economic empowerment. Political participation has increased substantially with women holding positions within their respective parliaments growing worldwide, for instance, in 1995, 11% all national parliamentarians were female and it has now doubled to 22%.  But despite the amount of women in politics doubling, the numbers are still not up to par. There is an even bigger issue in the continents of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East where less than 22% percent of parliamentarians are women compared to Europe and the Americas’ where 25% of parliamentarians are women.


Many countries in Africa are falling behind in promoting women’s political participation especially in regards to electing women ministers and parliamentarians.  Compared to other continents, many countries are more resistant towards electing female Heads of State and government. However, there are outliers within Africa that contradict the findings from the rest of the continent’s nations in the promotion of female empowerment.  In Rwanda’s parliament 64% of its parliamentarians are women, more than any other country in the world. The Rwandan Constitution also states that women must constitute no less than 30 percent of positions in the legislature. Women leadership and empowerment in Rwanda has not gone unnoticed, as the United Nations has tried to model this in other African nations to fulfill MDG 3.  Meanwhile, in West Africa, Liberia was the first country in the world to elect a female president, also highlighting the discrepancies between nation’s and their efforts to reach MDG 3.


In response to the lack of achievement of MDG 3, The United Nations has organized and encouraged a number of programmes in Africa to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. This weekend, female lawmakers from all over Africa traveled to Rwanda to begin a week-long study tour where they will share their leadership ideas, exchange experiences from their time in parliament, and discuss ways to encourage female participation in politics within Africa and the world. Further, South Africa has been making progress in education for women while implementing the Millennium Development Goals by encouraging females to study in areas that have been dominated by males, such as mathematics, science, and technology. The South African Government has also established and implemented programmes such as the Mathematics and Science Camps for Girls as well as Technology for Women in Business and UNICEF’s Global Girls Education Programme.


The United Nations is working hard to advance women’s political participation and leadership in countries around the world because women in politics can strengthen integrity of democracies through their participation, reinvigorating political responsibility, and contributing to enhanced efficiency. Studies have shown repeatedly that women in politics enhance the economy of states. For example, in the areas of India with female-led local councils had 62% more drinking water projects than in areas with male-led councils. In Norway, evidence shows a direct relationship between the number of women in municipal councils and childcare coverage they enacted. Hillary Clinton believes that GDP would grow by nearly 12 percent by 2030, if the gap in workforce participation between women and men around the world closed. These studies prove that women leadership and political participation is necessary and will need to be continuously promoted in order for the world to achieve all the MDGs.


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