Westminster Foundation for Democracy guest week: Gender and political progress

Are quotas for female African leaders enough? An interview with Icelandic Pirate Party co-founder Birgitta Jonsdottir. A call to action for British women after Brexit. Coming up in our week focused on gender and political progress.

openDemocracy Opendemocracy
12 September 2016

Icelandic Pirate Party co-founder Birgitta Jonsdottir. Credit: Flickr/Steve Rhodes. Some rights reserved.

Icelandic Pirate Party co-founder Birgitta Jonsdottir. Credit: Flickr/Steve Rhodes. Some rights reserved.Globally, more women are participating in politics but that does not mean that the issue of gender equality has been solved. Men are still much more numerous in the decision-making structures that decide who who has power and where resources will go.

This gender imbalance is linked to women and girls doing less well and to poorer outcomes for society as a whole.

This week, openDemocracy in partnership with Westminster Foundation for Democracy is introducing a series of articles focused on 'gender as a lens for for democratic progress'.

Gender and politics expert Sarah Childs kicks off coverage by taking a hard look at the hostile environment for women that exists at the top of British politics. She argues that there is a risk Theresa May's premiership will mask under-representation and examines a new group of MPs established to look at diversity.

Writer and broadcaster Phil England speaks to Icelandic politician, poet and activist Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a co-founder of the Icelandic Pirate Party. The party, which promotes transparency and transforming politics, could get its first taste of real power at the Icelandic parliamentary elections in October. 

There is a risk Theresa May's premiership will mask under-representation of women

Journalist and founder of Nzinga Effect, a platform to empower African women through storytelling, Eliza Anyangwe asks whether it's enough to create quotas for female politicians in Africa. What is the continent doing to support and empower women so that they become truly transformational leaders?

On International Day of Democracy, openDemocracy's Editor-at-Large Benjamin Ramm has a wide-ranging conversation with celebrated Greek historian and author of Democracy: A Life, Paul Cartledge about democracy -- as an idea and an ideal. 

In the wake of the UK's historic Brexit vote, Sam Smethers chief executive of British gender equality and women's rights organisation, the Fawcett Society, argues that during these uncertain times women must fight for an equal place in politics. Fawcett has launched a campaign Face Her Future and argue that women must take control of their lives and fight for a more equal future.

This article is published in association with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, which is seeking to contribute to public knowledge about effective democracy-strengthening by leading a discussion on openDemocracy about what approaches work best. Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of WFD. WFD’s programmes bring together parliamentary and political party expertise to help developing countries and countries transitioning to democracy.


Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData