Strengthening women's political participation

A woman in Afghanistan wearing a colourful veil holds up her left index finger, which has black ink on it after casting her vote.
The SDC promotes the active participation of women in elections. © SDC

Women around the world only have a limited influence on decision-making in politics, the economy, society, and even the household. The SDC is helping to ensure that women can fulfil their obligations as citizens on an equal footing as men and promotes their political participation.

SDC focus

The SDC systematically integrates gender equality dimension in its governance projects.  In democratisation processes, for example, it promotes women's political participation at the local and national levels.

In Afghanistan, which is experiencing rapid urbanisation, the crime rate is increasing drastically. In eight of the country’s major cities, citizens are enlisted to assess the security challenges and to put collective measures in place to counter them. In a process supported by the SDC, priority is given to the active participation of women.

In Benin, the SDC empowers women seeking to be involved in political office or other decision-making bodies, such as local health and water committees.

Integrating gender aspects is also a priority in local community development in the West Balkans. Through its projects, the SDC promotes women's participation in budget planning and resource distribution, and takes into account the needs and interests of women, men, girls, and boys equally.     

Context

Women are still less represented than men in decision-making bodies in government and business, where the important decisions are taken. They are confronted with obstacles, such as entrenched social prejudices, lack of time, and inadequate education, which prevent them from being involved in politics as to the same degree that men are.

Decision-making bodies must be aware of the gender dimension, and women must be duly represented in them. The SDC believes that all population groups need to be included in local governance and in development of decentralisation processes. At the same time, the impact of policies and budget decisions on women, men, children, and minorities should be analysed. 

Current projects

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Working for Health (W4H)

01.06.2022 - 31.05.2027

More health workers with the right skills are needed to achieve the SDGs, particularly in low income countries. Switzerland contributes to a joint WHO, ILO and OECD program providing catalytic support to governments, social partners and other key stakeholders to develop, finance and implement national health workforce strategies and investment plans. This will improve the supply and employment of health workers, maximise their performance, create decent jobs and accelerate progress towards UHC.   


Gender Mainstreaming 2022-2025 Phase 7

01.03.2022 - 28.02.2025

In collaboration with selected strategic partners, the SDC will promote gender equality and women’s rights in 3 priority areas that correspond to the SDC’s strategic interests and where it can promote innovative approaches: Peace building and crisis response, data driven advocacy and policy influence, and mobilising quality investments for gender transformative change. This will contribute to accelerate the implementation of the SDG 5 and to reduce its current funding gap.


Civil society resilience strengthening

18.02.2022 - 17.02.2027

This project, in delegated cooperation with USAID, supports democratic development in Serbia by fostering an enabling environment for civil society and strengthening its resilience. It improves capacities of civil society to perform its monitoring and advocacy roles, to facilitate citizen’s engagement and to engage in constructive dialogue with the government. Ultimately, this leads towards a more resilient, inclusive and pluralistic society.


Formation continue en Genre et Developpement en Afrique francophone

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2026

Le Projet contribue par des cours de formation continue de l’Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Développement (IHEID) a une meilleure expertise et intégration de la problématique de l’inégalités des sexes dans les politiques et programmes de développement dans les pays francophones d'Afrique (Ouest et Grands Lacs) ainsi qu’un meilleur ancrage dans les institutions locales. Le projet est aligné avec l’engagement de la Suisse pour l’égalité entre les sexes.


PYE - Participation and Equity Platform

01.12.2021 - 30.06.2024

PYE, phase 3, aims to consolidate in a platform the efforts of 15 Cuban civil society actors, including the 6 partners part of the Gender Equity Program (PEGIN), for the promotion of laws and public policies to improve human rights in Cuba, in the areas of gender, race, poverty and social inclusion to promote legislative, social and public policy changes, with the promotion of activism and leadership of local actors.


RESPECT - Redevabilité, sécurité et prévention de l’extrémisme violent pour les citoyennes et citoyens tunisiens

01.10.2021 - 31.08.2025

L’intervention vise à renforcer la capacité de la Commission Nationale de la Lutte contre le Terrorisme (CNLCT) dans la prévention de l’extrémisme violent (PEV) en améliorant la coordination entre les acteurs clés des secteurs de la sécurité et de la justice. L’approche choisie est holistique combinant des activités qui ont pour objectifs de renforcer la cohésion sociale en ciblant les groupes à risque. Un autre aspect de l’intervention consiste à soutenir la réforme du secteur de la sécurité afin que celui-ci soit conforme avec les standards internationaux régissant les droits humains.


Programme Psychosocial dans la Région des Grands Lacs

01.09.2021 - 31.12.2023

Le programme contribue à l’amélioration du statut des femmes, en particulier celui des survivantes des violences sexuelles et basées sur le genre dans la Région des Grands Lacs (Burundi, Rwanda, RDC). La Suisse a développé une expertise en matière d’approche psychosociale communautaire qui a apporté des changements positifs de comportements et des normes liés au genre. Le focus de cette phase de sortie est l’intégration de cette approche dans les institutions publiques et son soutien par d’autres partenaires. 


Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus

01.08.2021 - 31.07.2024

In 2017, Switzerland embarked on a multi-donor project which laid a solid foundation for women’s economic empowerment in the South Caucasus, yet, further support is needed to fulfil women’s rights, which remain constrained by structural and cultural barriers. The Swiss-funded contribution will support capacity-building and provide technical assistance at institutions and policy level and, combined with activities at grassroots level, benefit at least 1’850 vulnerable women in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia


Support to the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP)

01.07.2021 - 31.12.2024

Gender inequalities persist and are a major barrier for poverty reduction and sustainable inclusive development. SDC supports the International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific, a non-governmental organisation working nationally, regionally, and globally towards the achievement of women's human rights, especially through the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) mechanism.


Long-term support to UNRWA’s reform

01.07.2021 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland contributes to enable UNRWA to pursue key reform areas of its Medium-Term Strategy 2016-2022, mainly by supporting (i) management initiatives and set of actions to ensure that governance, accountability, management and transparency meet international standards, and (ii) the systematic integration and attention to the needs of vulnerable groups, in particular children, persons with disabilities and women survivors of violence.


Promotion and respect of human rights, gender equality and the international humanitarian law

01.06.2021 - 31.12.2023

Switzerland aims at enhancing prospects for Palestinians to live in dignity, prosperity and peace with Israel, via the respect and promotion of human rights, including gender equality, international humanitarian law and the rule of law by all duty bearers. To this end, SDC supports ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights and humanitarian law organizations active in the oPt, which provide legal aid and protection services to the population and advocate for the respect of the international law. 


Scaling-up improved sanitation – Bridging Phase Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF)

01.05.2021 - 31.10.2022

Investments in Sanitation, Hygiene and Menstrual Health are crucial to achieving the SDGs. The recently launched and UN-led Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF) aims to fill a gaping void in the international response to the sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health crisis. With this project, Switzerland supports the SHF in its operational set-up, starting country readiness work, resource mobilization and to become operational by early 2022

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