The IPU has made bold commitments and taken steps towards ensuring women and girls’ voices are heard in decision-making, and that young women are politically empowered. The IPU collaborates with strong partners such as the Generation Equality Forum (GEF), a civil society-centered global coalition for gender equality launched in 2021.
As a co-leader of GEF’s Action Coalition 6 on Feminist Movements and Leadership, the IPU has committed to the following:
- Empower women leaders, especially young women, and promote synergies with women and girls from civil society
- Support and strengthen measures to achieve gender parity in parliaments by 2030
- Promote gender-sensitive parliaments that drive a feminist agenda and are sexism-free and family-friendly
More than a year since these commitments were made at the Paris Forum in July 2021, the IPU has contributed to the vision and objectives of the GEF Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership.
Empowering young women leaders
- Parliaments are still largely run by men, and older men at that. Only 29.9% of the world’s parliamentarians are aged under 45 years old. In April 2021, the “I Say Yes to Youth in Parliament” campaign was launched to mobilize political action. This is aimed at helping achieve global targets towards youth representation in parliament, while addressing the gender imbalance within all age groups—in the 21-30 age group, the ratio of male to female MPs is about 60:40. Thus getting more young people in parliament is key in achieving gender parity. The campaign is supported by the Call to Action on Young Women’s Political Participation and Leadership launched by the IPU and the UN Youth Envoy .
- In March 2022, the IPU kick-started a series of capacity building activities for young men and women MPs. The first briefing focused on Policies to Empower Young Women shed light on the issues of youth representation and mobilized young MPs around needed solutions.
Ensuring gender parity in parliaments
- Gender parity in parliaments can only be achieved if discrimination against women in all spheres is eliminated. To support MPs in their efforts to implement the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the IPU organized a webinar last May 2022 aimed at accompanying parliaments in taking action for enhanced monitoring and implementation of CEDAW as a means to advance gender-transformative policies.
- The IPU is working closely with the CEDAW Committee in the drafting of their upcoming General Recommendation on women in political and public life. This recommendation will focus on promoting gender parity in decision-making.
Promoting gender-sensitive parliaments
- In November 2021, the IPU launched a study on sexism, harassment, and violence against women in parliaments in Africa in partnership with the African Parliamentary Union. It follows similar studies in other parts of the globe. The study was showcased at various regional, organizational and country-level events amplifying its results and breaking taboos.
- 2022 marks the tenth year since the Plan of Action for Gender-Sensitive Parliaments was unanimously adopted at the 127th IPU Assembly in Quebec. Itoutlines key action areas to strengthen parliament’s capacity to embody and promote gender equality; advocating for change in relation to parliamentary positions and seats, frameworks, processes, culture and partners. Various events are being held throughout the year to mark a decade of gender-sensitive parliaments.
Applying feminist practices at the IPU
The IPU has taken steps to be an institution that advances a feminist approach to decision-making and intergenerational dialogue, in particular through:
- Ensuring gender balance on parliamentary delegations attending its Assemblies by applying incentives and enhancing existing quotas: As a result, since November 2021, IPU Assemblies have included 40% women delegates (as compared to nearly 26% women MPs globally).
- Engaging girls and young women leaders in its work and deliberations: In various IPU-led events such as the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and a parliamentary event during GEF Paris, young women and girl leaders making changes in their communities were invited to speak and share their insights on pressing world issues such as climate change and political representation.