We empower women around the world with the knowledge that "You can do it, too!"
When women have a role in decision-making, the economic, political and social well-being of their country improves.
Since our founding in 2006, WDN has worked with 5,000 women in 80 countries. We empower women around the world to participate in the political process and equip them with the skills to take on greater leadership roles.
Where it all began
In March 2006, the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) was established by Judy Van Rest to prepare women for greater participation in public life. Since then, WDN has built a platform to connect aspiring and experienced women leaders.
Launch of Women's Democracy Network
At a global conference bringing together women from around the world, the International Republican Institute announced the creation of the Women’s Democracy Network, a network for women designed to increase political and civic leadership.
First Regional Conference— Latin America and the Caribbean
Thirty-two women leaders from 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries participated in the first WDN regional conference in Latin America. Participants identified the challenges and opportunities for women’s leadership.
Second Regional Conference—Asia
Twenty-six Asian women leaders representing 11 countries came together in Jakarta, Indonesia to discuss the challenges and opportunities for women in governance and politics in Asia.
Third Regional Conference—Eurasia
The Women’s Democracy Network’s third regional conference was hosted in Kiev, Ukraine. Thirty women leaders from 10 countries in Eurasia came together for a two-day conference to address the challenges and opportunities for women’s participation in the region.
Liubov Maiboroda, Deputy of the Cherasky Oblast in Ukraine, provided a special training on women's fundraising issues.
Fourth Regional Conference— Europe
Eleven women leaders representing Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Turkey, came together for a two-day regional conference in, Skopje, Macedonia. The conference included opening remarks by U.S. Ambassador Gillian A. Milovanovic.
Participants focused on regional challenges and opportunities and how to recruit women for political leadership roles.
Fifth Regional Conference—Africa
Thirty-three women participants representing 12 countries in Africa took part in a two-day conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Panels included a discussion on challenges and opportunities for women in Africa, led by two participants who attended the inaugural conference in Washington, DC.
TrailBlazers: Raquel Munt and Gladys Gonzalez from Argentina
In 2006, WDN members Raquel Munt and Gladys Gonzalezset a powerful example for Argentinian women as members of Compromiso para el Cambio, a center-right political party. In the process, they discovered a true talent to encourage women to participate in public life. With the help of WDN and the Fundación Creer y Crecer, Gonzalez and Munt developed a political leadership training school in Argentina which prepared women for political leadership through an eight-part seminar, despite a history of dictatorship and a culture with traditional views on gender roles, attracting hundreds of participants in the first series.
Regional Conference—Middle East and North Africa
Twenty-nine women representing nine countries from the Middle East and North Africa came together for a regional conference in Amman, Jordan. Participants focused on opportunities for Jordanian women to participate in political and civil life.
Rana Al-Hajaia, former mayor of the Al-Hassa Municipality in Jordan, shared experience using her position to encourage other Jordanian women to become more politically active and to consider running for public office. She reinforced the importance of learning from role models, a key goal of WDN.
First Annual International Women's Day Conference
In honor of International Women’s Day (IWD), WDN hosted 21 women from 19 different countries. Participants included women from WDN’s past regional conferences who had demonstrated a proven interest in continuing WDN’s work and who committed to leading a “working group” in their country for one year.
In their action plans, participants first introduced the idea of Country Chapters as a way to promote WDN in their countries.
Women Defining Politics Conference in Sri Lanka
Political figures in Sri Lanka gathered to discuss how to increase women’s participation in Sri Lankan politics at a conference hosted by IRI-Sri Lanka, WDN and the Association of War Affected Women. The conference connected more than 70 women representing all levels of political involvement in Sri Lanka, and brought together prominent women leaders from throughout Asia to identify ways to increase women’s political participation.
Launch of WDN's Mentorship Program
In the spring of 2007, WDN launched a mentorship program enabling women to share their professional experiences with each other through email, the WDN website, phone or in person.
Bi-Regional Advocacy Training for Women Leaders in Eurasia and Asia
WDN conducted an interactive advocacy workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia, for women civil society leaders from Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Moldova, and Ukraine. For many participants, this was the first opportunity to engage with women from other countries and discuss issues that transcended regional boundaries. Dr. Siti Musdah Mulia, recipient of the U. S. State Department’s 2007 Woman of Courage award, spoke to participants about her efforts to promote, defend and restore women’s rights in Indonesia.
U.S. Study Tour for Female Members of the Macedonian Parliament
IRI hosted a U.S. study and networking visit for six prominent female members of the Macedonian Parliament. The delegation met with seven members of Congress and their counterparts on Capitol Hill.
Launch of Country Captains
The creation of WDN’s "Country Captains" emphasized a member-driven and local-ownership approach to WDN’s work. Women from Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Sri Lanka and Brazil were selected to serve as a point of contact between the WDN headquarters in Washington, DC and other WDN members in their country and region. Through grassroots initiatives such as working groups for women activists and advocacy campaigns, Country Captains were able to build community and country-level networks.
International Women's Day Conference
Members from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Burma, China, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Peru, Romania, and Sri Lanka gathered in Washington DC to participate in the annual International Women’s Day Conference.
The conference focused on mentorship, leadership, global awareness and developing strategies to affect change in their countries. Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) opened the conference by sharing her personal story as a mother, local city council member and current member the United States House of Representatives. Representative Granger challenged the participants to reach out to women from their communities and encouraged them to join organizations, serve on council boards and run for office. “I am where I am today, serving in Congress, simply because a friend called me and made the simple suggestion that I try.”
During the conference, IRI inaugurated the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award, named in memory of Dr. Kirkpatrick, a long-time IRI board member and a strong advocate for IRI's women's programming and the establishment of WDN.
Creating Local Ownership: Subgrant Program Launch
WDN launched a subgrant program to fund member-led projects in their home countries.
As a starting point, a committee of five experts selected four women-led organizations from Bangladesh, Mali, Colombia, and Macedonia to receive grants and partner with WDN. For example, WDN supported a project in Mali that provided women with the skills to participate and be elected to political positions in local government and the national legislature.
Middle East North Africa and Europe Bi-Regional Conference
WDN assembled twelve women political and civic leaders from Iraq, Bahrain, and Lebanon to create grassroots campaign strategies.
Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean Bi-Regional Conference
More than 25 female political party activists and legislators from Angola, Somaliland, Sudan, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, and Uganda had the opportunity to meet with their counterparts from Venezuela, Peru, and Nicaragua. During their time together, they participated in a leadership and campaign management training where they shared best practices and discussed challenges and solutions to the political gender gap.
Mali Election: Subgrantee Success
Femmes et Droits Humains (F&DH), a WDN subgrantee in Mali, supported the women candidates in the April 2009 municipal elections in Kati. F&DH conducted synchronized radio panels on the two main local radio stations of the commune for women candidates to discuss their political messages.
On Election Day, four women were elected, all of whom were WDN subgrant program participants.
Member Success Story: Corina from Moldova
WDN member Corina Fusu participated in the 2008 WDN Eurasia regional conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. Following the conference, Corina was selected for the candidate list for the April 2009 Moldovan parliamentary elections. In July, Corina was successfully elected for the first time as a member of parliament representing the Liberal Party. After her election, Cornia went on to head the parliamentary commission for education, culture, media, youth and sports and became deputy president in her political party.
Member Success Story: Silvia from Brazil
WDN advisory council member and country captain, Silvia de Souza, worked for several years drafting gender equality quota laws. In April 2009, two of the laws were presented to the Brazilian National Congress. The quota legislation passed in 2009 and was first applied in 2012 municipal elections.
Bolivia, Jordan and Guatemala: The Birth of Country Chapter Programming
WDN started country chapters to connect aspiring and accomplished women leaders across the globe, creating forums for sharing ideas and experiences, providing technical training and resource materials. The Bolivia Chapter piloted the Country Chapter program.
WDN staff worked with members on a fundraising plan to generate local resources for the Chapter’s country-level activities and conduct a training for current local elected officials on fundraising for their re-election campaigns. Sixty-five women elected officials from the La Paz administrative district participated in the training. Soon after, the Jordan and Guatemala chapters were established.
Launch of the Moldova Country Chapter
The Moldova Chapter’s membership includes local councilors, members of parliament, civil society representatives, business leaders, media representatives, academics and university students. Since its founding, the Chapter has conducted Women’s Leadership Schools, Women’s Political Leadership Academies and more than 25 round tables.
Election Observation in Jordan
WDN was invited to participate in IRI's election monitoring of Jordan’s November 10, 2010, parliamentary elections - gaining insight into women’s participation in politics in Jordan.
In the lead up to the parliamentary elections, the WDN Jordan Country Chapter expanded its network by conducting several political consultations and strategy sessions, and hosted a roundtable on November 6, 2010, to discuss women’s political participation in Jordan.
Increasing Women’s Political Participation in Albania
In advance of local elections, the WDN Albania Country Chapter partnered with the Coalition of Domestic Observers to increase women’s participation in the electoral process. The Chapter provided six long-term observers and more than 25 short-term observers who aided in monitoring the preparation, polling and vote counting processes of the elections. After the elections, Chapter members worked diligently to observe the tabulation of votes, including the highly-contested mayoral seat in Tirana.
The Chapter also led an electoral campaign training, resulting in eight Chapter members running for elected office in these local elections. Two of the members won seats in the Municipality of Tirana.
Launch of Country Chapter in Uganda and New Partner Bangladesh
In May, WDN launched a Country Chapter in Uganda at an event entitled “Women Making a Difference in Parliament,” organized in collaboration with IRI’s Uganda program. The Country Chapter focused on providing a platform for women leaders to enhance their leadership capacities and empower women to engage in political and socio-economic issues. The Chapter’s membership included Members of Parliament, local councilors, civil society leaders, business leaders, media representatives, academics and university students.
Four months later, WDN welcomed the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) as a local partner organization. BWCCI focused on increasing women’s political and economic empowerment and building awareness of democratic rights afforded to women.
WDN Members Elected to Office in Peru, Jordan and Macedonia
In April, WDN Peru member Marisol Espinoza was elected Vice President of Peru. Espinoza previously served as a member of the Peruvian Congress and was the Congressional Whip of the Peruvian Nationalist Party.
WDN Jordan member and Parliamentarian Wafa Bani Mustafa was elected in May to serve as chairwoman of the Change Bloc in the Parliament’s lower house. This remarkable achievement was the first time in the Jordanian parliament’s history that a woman was elected to this position.
In June, long-time WDN Macedonia member Tanja Tomic was elected to Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia and expressed her continued dedication to carrying out the mission of WDN as a member of parliament.
Launch of Women's Leadership Schools
Partnering with WDN Advisory Council Member Rachel Woods, WDN developed the Women’s Leadership School (WLS) training curriculum. The WLS curriculum was designed to increase young women's political knowledge, encourage them to get involved in political decision-making processes in their community and to become actively involved in public life.
Through the WLS, experienced women activists assist inexperienced or marginalized women in their communities to gain the confidence to be active in public life by building effective leadership skills and by providing instruction on the democratic processes in their countries, and teaching the practical skills to implement what they have learned.
Bringing Women Together in South Sudan
In South Sudan, WDN brought together 75 women to improve their capacity to participate in politics and ascend to leadership roles.
WDN utilized expert trainers from Kenya, the Netherlands, United States and Zimbabwe to develop the participant's political skills and knowledge. At the conclusion of the conference, the participants put their training into practice and formed a united women’s coalition that included members from 16 distinct political parties.
Women Leadership Schools in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Georgia, and Guatemala
Twenty-four Women’s Leadership Schools (WLS) were held in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Georgia, and Guatemala. As a result of WLS, nearly 600 women gained the skills and confidence to assume leadership roles in their communities. As part of this program, the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry trained 146 women from various socio-economic backgrounds; the Cameroon Country Chapter trained 151 women from different political parties; the Georgia Country Chapter trained 149 aspiring young women and; the Guatemala Country Chapter trained 145 women from rural areas.
WDN Cameroon Country Member Receives the “100 World of Difference Award”
WDN’s Cameroon Country Chapter member Anne Stella Fomumbod was selected as a recipient of the 2012 “100 World of Difference Award” by the International Alliance for Women (TIAW), a global organization dedicated to the economic empowerment and advancement of women all over the globe. Each year, TIAW presents “100 World Difference Awards” to dynamic individuals whose efforts have advanced the economic empowerment of women locally, regionally or worldwide.
WDN Member Maimuna Mwidau Recognized for Dedication to Women’s Empowerment in Kenya
WDN member Maimuna Mwidau works tirelessly to help women in Kenya and around the world achieve their goals. Mwidau chaired the League of Muslim Women of Kenya for over a decade heading efforts to ensure Muslim women's inclusion in political processes. In recognition of Mwidau’s prominent voice for women’s empowerment and commitment to advancing freedom and democratic values in her country, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems chose Mwidau as a recipient of its 2012 Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award.
Afghanistan-Pakistan Women’s Forum
WDN Member and Executive Director of the Peace Education and Development Foundation in Pakistan, Sameena Imtiaz, co-hosted a cross-border dialogue for 16 women from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Largely excluded from official state negotiation processes, WDN’s Afghanistan-Pakistan dialogue enabled women Members of Parliament, journalists, academics and civil society representatives to develop solutions to cross-border issues such as security, refugees, peace processes and trade routes.
WDN Honors Senator Kelly Ayotte and Bangladesh Activist Selima Ahmad with 2013 Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award
WDN held its annual Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award ceremony, honoring women who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of women in politics and civil society. In 2013, we honored U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH) and Selima Ahmad, founder and former president of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In her remarks, Senator Ayotte praised WDN and reminded the audience of the importance of women’s voices in the public sphere. “I am deeply honored to be here to receive this award and want to commend you for what you all are doing to encourage women to get involved in public policies, civic engagement and leadership positions, because we know that if we leave half the population out no country can reach its full potential.”
"Ask a Woman to Run" Online Campaign
WDN’s "Ask a Woman to Run" social media campaign was launched to encourage both women and men to "ask a woman to run" for public office. During the campaign, WDN hosted its first Twitter chat as part of a digital rally organized by Devex, the largest online platform for the international development community. WDN’s Twitter chat invited participants to highlight the strategies and initiatives implemented in their country to increase women’s participation in politics.
Albania Country Chapter Success
WDN's Albania Country Chapter formally launched the Alliance of Women Parliamentarians Caucus in December 2013. The Chapter conducted three public decentralized hearings with the caucus, in which 225 constituents were able to influence the Caucus’ legislative agenda by vocalizing their concerns. As a result of the issues brought up in the decentralized hearings, the caucus worked to amend the electoral law for the 2015 local elections to ensure a gender quota is instituted.
WDN Latin America Conference
WDN hosted a two-day conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina that brought together 19 WDN members from 11 countries. The conference was an opportunity for members to focus on advancing women’s political empowerment in their countries by sharing common obstacles as well as best practices for women’s political participation in the region.
Mongolian Women’s Parliamentary Caucus
Following the Mongolian 2012 elections, WDN established the Mongolian Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. The caucus started with 11 WDN members and parliamentarians dedicated to issues facing women constituents throughout the country. Network members held a workshop for women parliamentarians to refocus their legislative agenda for their remaining two years and ensure that the caucus had the skills necessary to carry out legislative initiatives. As a result, the Caucus passed the Anti-Tobacco law.
Partnering with the Women’s Peruvian Parliamentary Caucus
in 2014, WDN's partner, the Women’s Peruvian Parliamentary Caucus (MMPP) held four public decentralization hearings throughout the country that reached 1,035 constituents. As a result of the discussions, the Peru Chapter worked with the caucus on combatting domestic violence and anti-human trafficking legislation to be presented through the Women and Family Commission. Working together, the Caucus was successful in requesting more emergency centers for women in the decentralized regions of the country through the Ministry of Interior.
Launch of Leadership Trek
The Leadership Trek program was launched to help aspiring and experienced women leaders refine their leadership skills while establishing personal development goals. The platform also provides an online forum for discussions with peers from around the world, while providing an unparalleled opportunity for continued mentorship and coaching.
Building Bridges of Opportunity in NIgeria
WDN-Nigeria member Maimuna Mwidau led the first National Nigerian Women’s Strategy Conference, “Building Bridges of Opportunity; 2015 and Beyond” in Abuja, Nigeria.
WDN Uganda Chapter Lead Trains WDN Kenya Chapter
WDN-Uganda Country Chapter Lead, Perry Aritua, trained the WDN-Kenya Country Chapter on best approaches to grow the Chapter's programmatic outreach. The 25 Chapter members produced a five-year action plan.
WDN Ukraine Election Report
In Ukraine, WDN members presented the results of their Parliamentary Elections 2014 Gender Monitoring project. The report also provided recommendations for enhancing women's participation in political life as well as identified viable methods of getting more women elected to office.
International Women's Day
The International Women’s Day (IWD) conference brought together nine women parliamentarians from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Mongolia, Peru and Tunisia. The women attended intensive workshops on democratic governance, best practices in constituent outreach, legislative drafting on coalition building.
Encouraging Women to Participate in Colombian Elections
Ahead of the Colombian 2015 municipal elections, WDN's local partner in Colombia, Red de Empoderamiento de las Mujeres Cartagena de Indias y Bolívar (Women's Empowerment Network Cartagena de Indias and Boliviar), WDN’s local partner in Colombia, spearheaded a media campaign to encourage women to support female candidates. Further capitalizing on this initiative, Red de Empoderamiento de las Mujeres Cartagena de Indias y Bolívar provided campaign consultation services to female candidates.
Women’s Leadership School Participants Elected to Office
In advance of the 2015 municipal elections, the WDN Bolivia Country Chapter trained 30 rural and urban women through the Women’s Leadership School (WLS) curriculum. Following the training, the women participants went on to participate as campaign and political party volunteers, election poll watchers and electoral candidates.
WLS participant Claudia Bravo was elected to the city of La Paz's local council and WLS participant Soledad Chapeton was elected Mayor of El Alto. 34 year old, Chapeton was the first female opposition party member to become mayor of El Alto— a city of 800,000 inhabitants.
Empowering Young Women through Film
The Kenya Country Chapter and the Kenya University Female Student Leaders Association (KUFSLA) co-hosted the Women in Red campaign screening, which showcased documentaries focused on inspiring female leaders. The WDN Kenya Country Chapter members, including former member of parliament Catherine Nyamato, outlined challenges facing women in political leadership and how to overcome them. After the last screening, KUFSLA resolved to take a multi-faceted approach to engage more young women in politics. This included holding campus forums, establishing mentorship programs for girls in high school and conducting post-graduate mentorship forums as part of a national campaign aimed at preparing young women for the 2017 elections.
WDN Turns Ten
In its first ten years, WDN trained more than 15,000 women from around the world. More than 600 women from the WDN network have run for local or national office and more than 160 have been elected.
WDN has helped more than 500 women register to vote, 800 join political parties and has worked with more than 120 female political party leaders. Seven hundred WDN members have joined civil society organizations and over 300 members have led advocacy campaigns in their country.
WDN collaborated with over 30 local partner organizations worldwide and established 15 Country Chapters. WDN’s partners have reached an additional 3,400 women around the world.
Women in Peace and Security Study Tour
In partnership with the European Endowment for Democracy, WDN led a study tour in Brussels, Belgium for four women leaders in the peace and security sector: Zana Marjanovic, a member of the multi-party parliamentary Women’s Caucus of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Fatemah Bagi, an elected member of the Tripoli Municipal Council; Maia Sandu, former Minister of Education in Moldova; and Lobna Jeribi, founder of Initiative Solidar Tunisia.
Forming a New Partnership in Kyrgyzstan
One-hundred and fifteen women, including members of political parties, members of parliament, deputies of local councils, civil society representatives, and representatives from international organizations joined a two-day conference hosted by WDN in cooperation with Zhenskaya Demokratichyskaya Set (ZDS), a local NGO in Kyrgyzstan.
The conference gave women from Kyrgyzstan a platform to discuss the barriers to women's political and economic access. One ZDS coordinator from Issyk-Kul Oblast noted, “We have been actively working for three years to reach this goal. This is our invaluable achievement and success.”
Publication of The Index on Women's Influence in African Politics
In order to better understand the challenges to gender equality in political representation and influence, WDN initiated a pilot study to develop a new, quantitative measure to capture women's political leadership beyond the percentage of parliamentary seats or executive positions held by women.
The Women’s Political Empowerment, Representation, and Influence in Africa report (also known as the Women's Leadership Index) collected two new variables for 29 African countries related to women’s political leadership. In combination with widely used data on women’s political leadership, the report ranks the countries on four indicators focused on legislative and executive leadership. The results provide a nuanced picture of where countries perform well on the four different measures of influence in legislative and executive branches of power and show the correlation between women’s political representation, leadership and influence.
Celebrating Greta Van Susteren and Dr. Isatou Touray
WDN honored Greta Van Susteren, Anchor MSNBC, and Dr. Isatou Touray, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment for the Republic of the Gambia with the annual Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award.
Commending WDN’s emphasis on mentorship, Van Susteren emphasized the importance of female role models: “It’s not that hard to be a good role model. Be nice. Be kind. Do more. Make a difference.”
Launch of the "She Votes” Toolkit
WDN launched the “She Votes” toolkit, a resource that identifies women candidates and voters at the individual, governmental, and society level.
The information gained through the toolkit’s use is used to design the interventions necessary to increase women’s political participation and leadership. By assessing women’s participation in elections as voters and candidates, “SheVotes” provides practitioners with the data needed to address these deficiencies and empower women around the world.
Albania: Launch of “Ask a Woman to Run”
In advance of the June 2017 parliamentary elections, the WDN Albania Country Chapter hosted the “Ask a Woman to Run” two-day workshop, covering the essential elements in running a successful political campaign. Out of the 26 women candidates trained, three were successfully elected as members of parliament and all 10 campaign managers who completed the training saw their candidates elected.
Engaging Our Members: Video Teleconferences
With over 3,000 active members in over 80 countries, WDN is committed to remaining engaged with our partners. In response to requests from local partners and global members, WDN launched monthly video teleconferences (VTCs) to bring together groups of women from around the world to discuss a rotating list of topics.
The inaugural training, “Telling Your Story,” taught participants to utilize social media to captivate and motivate their audience. Fourteen women representing 12 countries participated in the training, including women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Spain.
Welcoming WDN Latin America
WDN members from nine Latin American countries gathered for a two-day conference to discuss ways to promote WDN’s mission of women’s empowerment on a regional scale. After initially meeting at a 2009 WDN conference in Peru, members from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela reunited in Cartagena, Colombia to create an inter-regional association of WDN members in Latin America.
Member Highlight: Faouzia Abidi from Tunisia
WDN’s Women’s Political Leadership Academy curriculum has been a successful tool in helping empower women and increase their capacity to achieve leadership roles at various levels. At the beginning of the Tunisia Country Chapter’s WPLA training in Sfax, Faouzia Abidi, a member of the Takattol Party, was identified as being very shy and quiet. During the “All About Me” session, it became evident that she was eager to step out of her comfort zone and wanted to work to recruit young people to her party. Three weeks after the training, Faouzia’s party held its annual congress and she was elected as a member at the national level at only 24 years of age.
Faouzia said that the “Communication to Change the World” session helped her craft her campaign message. She was able to successfully convey her views on the need to give the youth a chance to be involved in the country’s democratic transition.
Launch of WDN's Fifteenth Country Chapter
The launch of the WDN Paraguay Chapter marked the fifth Country Chapter in the Latin America and Caribbean region and WDN’s fifteenth Chapter worldwide. Focusing on increasing women’s political leadership and preventing violence against women, the Chapter advocated for two pieces of legislation, one on democratic gender parity and another on protecting women from violence.
Albania: Ask a Woman to Run Alumna Elected
WDN Member and “Ask a Woman to Run” training alumna Dhurata Cupi was elected by her fellow women members of parliament to lead to the Alliance of Women MPs in Albania. Albania held parliamentary elections in June 2017, but when members took their seats in September 2017, MPs did not organize to create the women’s caucus for this term. Cupi first participated in a training with WDN in April 2017, when she led a public hearing on the subject of territorial and administrative reform and sustainable development in Albania. WDN Albania will continue to support Cupi by working with her to develop and implement legislative priorities for the Alliance of Women MPs.
Kyrgyzstan WDN Member Appointed to Manage Budget Committee
After attending a training conducted by local partner ZDS, local politician Nurgul Sadykova, held a public hearing to demand accountability and tackle corruption in local government. head of the village government to report to the government accountant and develop a report on the work that has been done so far. At the conclusion of the public hearing, deputies decided to remove the head of the government, accountant, and speaker. Later, Sadykova was appointed speaker and now manages all activities in the budget committee. She hopes that through her leadership she can increase the accessibility of the local budget and make it more transparent.
Ukraine: Transparency at the National Level
During a roundtable with local council members in Pervomaisk, the coordinator of WDN-Ukraine Southern Region, Iryna Slavova, held a session entitled, “Transparency of State Power.” This resulted in the evaluation of the activities of community enterprises in six local councils in the region, forcing them to report on their expenditures during local council sessions. PDuring a regional conference in the Pervomaisk region, participants adopted a resolution that demonstrated their support for a gender quota. The resolution was submitted to the city councils in the Pervomaisk region.
The councils were called to join councils in other regions to make an appeal to the Verhovna Rada (National Parliament) of Ukraine in support of the 40 percent gender quota.
Uganda: Training Successes
The WDN Uganda Country Chapter has been working with women in specific leadership positions in local councils to increase their effectiveness in their respective districts. Honorable Manda Christine, District Speaker of Pakwach district, shared her experiences following this training when she chaired a very tense meeting on the district budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Citing the lessons learned during a training session on effectively chairing meetings, she adjourned the session temporarily so that councilors could consult with technical staff on budget areas that had not been well explained. Councilors responded positively to this action and when the session resumed, the issues causing conflict were clarified and the council could proceed to pass the budget.
The Honorable Natalie Drateru, Secretary for Production and Agriculture in Arua district, shared that prior to the training, she lacked confidence and felt intimidated by the technical staff in her department. She informed the Chapter that with her newfound confidence from the training, she was able to reform the distribution of funds under Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), a project to improve household income through the facilitation of sustainable commercial agricultural production. Said Drateru, “There are now ratios for women and youth to ensure that every citizen, regardless of sex, benefits from government programs like OWC.”