only search

About Lesley Abdela

Lesley Abdela is a journalist and campaigner for women’s equality.

Articles by Lesley Abdela

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Democracies, free speech and the right to offend.

In light of Donald Trump's discriminatory comments towards women, Mexicans and Muslims, ought some voices to be silenced? 

Lesley Abdela


It is 2050, OpenDemocracy’s 49th Birthday. Over half of the world’s leading Decision-makers are now women, many of them with backgrounds in human rights advocacy, environmental sciences and peace-building.  As historians tell it, the big shift to pluralist democracy came about once the International Community recognised that men on their own are no good at achieving peace after deadly conflicts.  Throughout the last years of the 20th Century into the first decade of this century most wars broke out again within 10 years. The big shift came in 2020 with an international agreement that henceforth no international treaty or peace agreement was valid unless at least half the mediators, negotiators and signatories were women, and no election results for presidents, prime ministers or parliaments would be recognised unless at least 50% of candidates were women.  This led to many imaginative forms of inclusiveness for other groups and to root-and-branch new ways of doing things. Women insisted peace-building should no longer be left to power-group elites but through meaningful participation at village and community level upwards. There have been border skirmishes but no major deadly conflict in the past decade. 

Once all countries followed Norway’s lead that women must be at least 40% of all Boards, economic and financial policies shifted too. Under the press of feminist economics,  women-led business corporations have become more human-friendly. Empowerment of women also resulted in the much-needed drop in numbers in the world population with their slogan – ‘every baby a wanted baby’.  Following the rash of early 21st Century ‘Face-book’ revolutions, old- fashioned male-led hierarchical international organisations such as the EU, UN, World Bank etc. became obsolete, replaced by new channels and social communities for international interaction and communication.  A big block to overcome were intolerant attitudes and the fanaticism of a generation of young men who grew up in the early part of the 21st Century indoctrinated by religious leaders – the use of  physical and psychological intimidation was hard to combat. This changed once women in large numbers became leaders of the world’s religions and once religions were excluded from political power (Pope Joan has decided to live in a modest cottage in Tuscany where she manages an organic farm part-time). 

November 1980, Lesley’s first public speech when she founded the all-Party 300 Group for more women in politics at Methodist Central Hall Westminster.

Egypt: the transition to democracy needs women

Boots-on-the-ground often plays itself out in the transitional period after deadly conflict: predominantly male leaders grab or gain access to formal political and economic power and impose their agenda from the top down

When will they ever learn? Women, men and peace-building

International Women's Day is a moment to press global power-brokers to realise the aspiration of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to allow women to take their rightful place at the heart of peace-building, says Lesley Abdela.

1325: deeds not words

Why are women absent and warlords present when conflict-torn societies sit down for talks and rebuilding after war? Lesley Abdela charts the progress of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and calls for more action to involve women in politics.

Iraq's war on women

Violence and intimidation against women are escalating across Iraq. The world’s commitment is needed to halt this assault on human and democratic rights, says Lesley Abdela.
Syndicate content