Women and Power-Sharing: Leadership and Strategies

Oslo, Norway, 15-16 May 1998


The equal participation of women and men in government, in the economy, in cultural life and in society is reflective of the level of democracy in that society. A true democracy cannot and does not exclude women. This is true for communities, nations and international institutions.

For Socialist International Women, however, the goal is not simply to elect more women to positions of power in the world's parliaments. The social, economic and political structures that prevent women from truly exercising their rights in a democratic society must also be changed. We must understand the gender ramifications of policies in order to establish policies and programmes that will enhance women's equality and empowerment.

Thus, from the point of view of socialist, social democratic and labour women, several aspects of gender politics must be addressed in order for women to achieve equality. Measures must be implemented to ensure that women are represented at all levels of government and party structure. Affirmative action must be taken to promote women within these institutions, for example:

  • the preparation of more gender-balanced lists of candidates for elections of any kind;
  • the assurance of gender-balanced representation in party structures;
  • the promotion of women to leadership positions, such as ministries and executive positions in international institutions;
  • the close scrutiny of the media to ensure that women's issues are put on the public agenda and that women in public positions are well represented.

The promotion of women in and of itself will not necessarily strengthen women's position in society. Strong support should be given to women who are committed to strengthening women's position in society. Women elected to office should act on their commitment by addressing the social, economic and cultural barriers facing most women.

An important strategy for achieving power for women is to reshape policies and programmes to ensure that the situation of women is positively addressed. We must support programmes that provide for investment in people, and particularly women. Such programmes will address those areas where gender differences and inequalities place an additional burden on women. Programmes must also be evaluated to ensure that they do not explicitly or implicitly discriminate against women.

Ensuring the equality and empowerment of women will thus require nothing less than the restructuring of our societies, economies and governments. The equal representation of women and men in decision-making processes in politics and economics, in addition to being an issue of human rights and democracy, contributes to good governance and ensures a more just and productive development of societies.



Season's Greeting!

December 2019

Wishing peace and equality for 2020

Declaration on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2019

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a powerful reminder that our global society remains plagued by violence against women and girls..

Regional Meeting

Niamey, Niger, from 28 to 30 October 2019

Women's Participation in Decision-Making Processes - the challenges for a 50/50 World

Gender equality and sustainable development: how to empower women and girls to have access to public services

11 March 2019

63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 11 to 22 March 2019

Side Event hosted by the Socialist International Women(SIW) and Pablo Iglesias Foundation

International Women's Day Declaration

08 March 2019

International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity to honour and celebrate all women and girls around the world for their invaluable contribution to their families and communities...

Council Meeting

25 and 26 January 2019

Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls

Nobel Peace Prize 2018

05 October 2018

The Socialist International Women (SIW) would like to warmly congratulate the Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad on winning the 2018 Nobel peace prize for their work on combating sexual violence...

Obituary - Maria Jonas

01 February 1940 - 25 September 2018

We were deeply saddened to hear today that our comrade and friend Maria Jonas, former Secretary General of Socialist International Women, has died at the age of 78 years...


The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women