Women Participating in Public Life, Middle East North Africa

Overview

The Women Participating in Public Life (WPIPL) programme aims to build women’s capacities and broad-based support to increase their active involvement in public life, including national and local political processes. 

I have absolute faith that there are no civil, or democratic, or free countries if women aren’t free.

Supported by the British FCO’s Arab Partnership Initiative, the programme has been delivered in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. In each country, the project is implemented through three main strategies: developing community leaders, especially women, aged 18–30 in marginalised populations; supporting capacity building of CSOs to conduct action research and advocacy to influence policy and practice; and learning, networking and coalition-building to provide platforms for experience sharing between the countries through regional learning events.

WPIPL’s broader understanding of women’s political participation goes beyond simple political empowerment, looking at how women can engage and influence political processes through alternative means. This longer-term approach helps to build the capacity and confidence of women and women’s organisations to influence change.

Impact

·  In 2015, the community leadership programme involved 18 communities and had trained more than 50 facilitators and more than 2500 young people. 

·  Participation in the action research component of WPIPL helped Heda Abel to advocate more effectively on enshrining gender equality in the new Egyptian constitution. 

•  The 2016 Parliamentary elections demonstrated a new record in Jordanian women’s participation in elections. The percentage of women candidates was at its highest percentage since 1989, with 252 women running for seats. Women were able to win five competitive seats bringing the number of women MPs to 20 out of a total of 130. The percentage of women’s representation increased to almost 15.4%, which is also the highest  since 1989.