Asunción, Paraguay– The Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) launched its newest chapter in Paraguay last week. It’s the 16th in WDN’s global effort to identify, inspire and assist women to play an active role in their communities and empower them with the leadership skills to succeed.
“We are excited to have the Paraguay chapter join WDN’s growing network,” said Judy Van Rest, executive vice president of the International Republican Institute. “This new chapter joins our network of women leaders around the globe.”
Established in 2006, WDN is IRI’s global initiative to develop women’s political participation, leadership in civic and political life and election to public office. The Paraguay chapter is focused on increasing women’s political leadership and preventing violence against women by advocating for two pieces of legislation—one on democratic gender parity and another on the protection of women from violence.
The chapter will host a series of Women’s Leadership Schools to empower women to be part of the decision-making process in their communities and build leadership skills. In a country where 90 percent of elected officials are men, having women confidently expressing their political preferences in their community will encourage other women to see such interactions as customary and remove cultural barriers preventing civic participation. “When you invest in women, it benefits the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community,” said Valerie Dowling, director of WDN.“When women are able to pursue their ambitions and take the lead, economies and countries become more stable.
As a member-driven network, WDN reaches more than 61 countries globally. WDN’s Paraguay chapter joins chapters in Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, Georgia, Guatemala, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Peru, Tunisia, Ukraine and Uganda. WDN country chapters develop and implement programs tailored to the needs of their members. This member-driven approach enables WDN to support training on a global level while maintaining local relevance.