Stakeholders discuss women’s participation in political parties in Albania.

09 Jul 2014

imageParticipants at the panel discussion today

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organised a panel discussion that brought together political party representatives, government officials, civil society and international partners to discuss strengthening women’s participation in political parties in Albania. The gathering reflected on the crucial role political parties play in enhancing women’s political participation, identifying key challenges and opportunities, along with best practices and lessons learned for political parties to promote change. As an EU candidate country, OSCE participating state, and signatory of numerous international human rights conventions, Albania has committed itself to promote the equal participation of women and men in political and public life, yet women remain under-represented in politics and often excluded from decision-making processes and positions within political parties.

During the discussion forum, the organizers launched the joint NDI/UNDP publication, Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Guidebook to Promote Women’s Political Participation, translated in Albanian language also available at: http://www.al.undp.org/content/albania/en/home/library/poverty/fuqizimi-i-grave-per-parti-politike-me-te-forta-nje-udhezues/

 The publication aims to inspire and encourage political party leaders to reflect on good practice examples to facilitate, support and ensure women’s access to party structures and elected office. The guide provides general principles for parties to empower women, as well as case studies from 20 countries, showing their approach to increasing women’s participation in political parties.  

The discussion of Albanian politicians such as: Olta Xhaçka, Albana Vokshi, Brunilda Paskali, Blendi Klosi, Oerd Bylykbashi, Perparim Spahiu etc. reflected opportunities and current internal party practices and regulations which provide for more openings and women’s inclusion in political party decision making structures. Next year’s local elections provide an opportunity to do just this. UN Resident Coordinator Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun’s and NDI representatives Ana Kadoviç and Susan Kemp’s addressess encouraged all political parties to increase opportunities for women’s equal representation at both the councilor and mayoral level in the light of the next year’s local elections. Special guest Sonja Lokar, a renowned Slovenian gender activist, advocating across Europe for an increased participation of women in decision-making, further inspired participants for stronger political commitment on the issue.

NDI and UNDP together with other international and local partners seek to advance the conversation on women’s political participation in Albania both within individual parties and across parties, civil society, parliament and government.

This event is part of the Gender Equality Programme supported by the Government of Sweden and implemented by UNDP Albania, in partnership with other UN agencies in the country.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI or the Institute) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization that responds to the aspirations of people around the world to live in democratic societies that recognize and promote basic human rights. Since its founding in 1983, NDI and its partners have supported democratic institutions and practices by strengthening political parties, civic organizations and parliaments, safeguarding elections, and promoting citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.