4, May, 2017
BRIEF

Women’s Political Participation: the Key to Action on Domestic Violence – Lessons from a Comparison of Mexico and Ghana

This policy brief aims to explore key factors that secure the implementation of policies to tackle domestic violence, contrasting the cases of Mexico and Ghana.

What makes the implementation of a law on domestic violence possible in some countries but not in others? This policy brief aims to explore key factors that secure the implementation of policies to tackle domestic violence. Two cases that shared a common background, and followed a similar pathway to the enactment of domestic violence legislation in 2007, were Mexico and Ghana. Comparing these two cases sheds light on the role that women play in decision-making spaces and their role in turning laws into action. The Mexican case illustrates how female parliamentarians translated their formal representation into a substantive representation that took advantage of their positions of power leading to action that addressed domestic violence.

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Key Lessons:

  • Promoting women’s political participation should be included as a state response to guarantee women’s rights. This could be achieved through different mechanisms including legal reforms, agreements among political parties, or the adoption of affirmative actions such as quotas aiming to increase the formal representation as an initial step to raising the awareness around gender issues.
  • Fostering leadership among female parliamentarians should be a priority among political parties so that they can assume key positions in relevant institutions and work for the advancement of gender issues. Universities offering innovative and specialized training for female parliamentarians are key to strengthening this leadership and recognition among their male peers.
  • Finding a common agenda, developing strong alliances, and building a gender identity among female parliamentarians, regardless of their political parties, that can contribute to the creation of a “women’s pact” that increases their influence in the advancement and implementation of women friendly policies.

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