UNDP encourages women participation in politics

01 Mar 2009

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The Local Politics Workshops of "Women in Local Politics and Decision Making" project took place in Şanlıurfa on 6-7 February 2009. The project, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), directly executed by UNDP as the implementing agency with the technical expertise of Ankara branch of the Association for Supporting and Training Women Candidates (KA-DER), aims to build capacities of women politicians and activists and promote their engagement and leadership into policy-making processes.

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Through increasing women’s participation in local decision making, gender equality in every sphere of life in Turkey is promoted. At the local level the major partners of the project are Women’s Coalition and the Local Agenda 21 (LA-21) Women and Youth Councils. Men and women representatives of political parties' provincial presidencies, youth and culture houses, women candidates, members of women council, women activists and associations representing the women’s coalition participated in the workshops for the common goal of increased women’s participation in local politics.

At the workshops, the neccesity of women-friendly local administrations and how to make this happen were discussed. The international agreements and legal arrangements that can be the base of people’s demands were also pointed out. The workshops were also an investment for the future representatives of the local administrations for a comprehensive understanding of gender-sensitive policies at the local level based on the unique needs of every community.

The set of workhops was finalized in Şanlıurfa followed by those in Adana, Eskişehir, İzmir and Trabzon. Since the beginning of the project, particular emphasis had been placed on encouraging young women’s participation. National Youth Parliament, one of the partners of the project, carries out a campaign “I want to be Elected”, which is supported by UNDP Turkey Office, so as to encourage participation of young people in politics. UNDP’s workshops implemented simultaneously with “I want to be Elected” campaign are significant in consideration of the upcoming local elections in Turkey in March 2009.

Throughout the workshops, the women’s rights activists, youth and women civic platforms had the chance to learn about elections campaigns in Turkey which focus on gender equality. At the time of the workshops, political parties’ candidacy deadlines for the local elections have not elapsed yet, thus, these set of workshops have contributed to encourage women’s participation to become candidates and to empower women candidates within their political parties.