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Capacity Building for Women in Politics

Equality between women and men and between different social groups correlates directly with the economic growth of a nation or a region. This is a mutual effect; while economic growth is seen and to improve equality between women and men in general, gender equality also entails economic growth and social understanding and it is possible only if both men and women are competent enough.
The terms Capacity Building and Capacity Development are used in numerous contexts to …

describe a wide array of activities. In the most general terms, capacity consists of a person’s ability to solve its problems and achieve its objectives. Capacity building aims to strengthen person’s ability to work together for their mutual benefits by providing them with the skills and tools they need to define problems and issues and formulate solutions.

However, capacity building goes well beyond the provision of basic needs. It is matter of development at all levels of society and includes institutional development, community development, and economic development.

Political Capacity Building

Building political capacity is grounded in efforts to support leaders’ ability to participate in decisions. One central component of the capacity building of women politicians at district level is political education. Political education helps to strengthen local women leaders’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities and to keep them informed about recent legislation and other legal as well as state provisions. Education, in particular, helps to build awareness, raise political consciousness, and give women leaders the information they need to think critically and become independent. When women leaders have the ability to get the knowledge of political circumstances, and access of information, they can make better decisions and articulate their demands for social change.

Indeed, many theorists have noted that democracy requires the educated leaders as well as the citizens. Additional skills that enable the women politicians to participate effectively in state mechanisms include discussion and communication skills, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and the ability to negotiate and work as part of a team. If leaders of district as well as communities are to advance social change, they also need to learn skills of advocacy and effective policy influence.

Trainings, workshops are some of the way-outs to build capacity of women politicians. It helps them to know about civil and political rights, polls procedures, and the representative process. Equipped with this knowledge, women politicians are more likely to participate in elections, make contact with elected representatives, and attempt to articulate their voices politically. However, the capacity to analyze political and social problems and organize for social change does not come automatically. Women leaders need access to skills training, some IT knowledge, and problem solving techniques. In addition, they should have the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes so that they gain a sense of self-confidence and self-reliance.

In our Nepali political arena, women participation in politics is very low and it is said that it’s all because of their incapability but the reality seems different. Women’s participation is low not because of their incapability but because of the existence of social dogmatic of patriarchy system. Women leaders’ capacity needs to be enhanced but that does not mean that they are incapable in holding the position at any decision levels. For making women leaders more effective and competent in politics, some enhancements as well as capacity building measures should be taken into consideration so that more capable and competent women leaders can be introduced.

Along the lines of the above discussion, capacity building for women leaders’ empowerment and the implementing of gender equality and gender mainstreaming are not seen as a priority area by many politicians and indeed our country itself. To improve the situation and position of women leaders in political arena of Nepal, the following measures should take into consideration:
• The number of female representatives in all political bodies at national, regional and local level should reach a critical mass of at least 33 percent in a short-term perspective. Political trainings, workshops, skill based training courses for women leaders are important steps to strengthen the participation of women in the political arena.
• The process of institutional capacity building for women leaders’ empowerment and gender mainstreaming should start in national level. Programmes and projects should be there with the initiations of NGOs and INGOs.
• Gender equality should be seen and communicated as a social and economic issue to be taken into consideration in the current national/rural/regional policy discourse.
• The embodiment of gender sensitivity and gender equality in politics is only successful when the different institutional, political and social backgrounds of the actors in these fields are reflected and there is continuous communication between these stakeholders.
• Systematic and proactive interventions/advocacies are necessary for improving and strengthening the capacity building for women politicians’ empowerment and for gender equality at all level of society.
• The concerns of women should be reflected more intensively in the priorities and strategic orientation of national policy processes and programmes.

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