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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Nwakanma

Why Is Gender Mainstreaming Important in the Democratic Process and Why Should You Care About it?

Democracy in principle and to a considerable extent, in practice, strives to promote the ideals of inclusion and equality. As a system of rule for the people, by the people, it should also strategically champion the causes that promote a similar philosophy. Gender mainstreaming is a delicate concept that is very important to the democratic process. It is not just important to the democratic process; it is important to those who partake in the democratic process- you and me.

Keywords: gender mainstreaming, democracy, equality, representation, policy, legislation, human rights, Europe, developed nations, participation, empowerment.

[Metadata: Beyond "equal rights on paper": Dive into the practical steps of gender mainstreaming, and its role in creating an inclusive democracy where everyone's voice is heard].

Strategically incorporating gender mainstreaming into the democratic process is crucial for achieving fair and representative outcomes. Through the instrumentality of effective representation and participation, policy and legislation, institutional mechanisms, civil society engagements, technology, and innovation gender mainstreaming can become commonplace in society. A most fundamental importance of gender mainstreaming in the democratic process is that it is not just about achieving gender equality, but about strengthening the very core of democracy by ensuring equal representation, participation, and justice for all individuals.

Picture a democracy where half the voices are unheard- this sounds like a stretch, but it is the reality for many women around and around the world, even in supposedly "equal" societies, like we have in Europe. But gender mainstreaming is not just about fixing some dusty old system. It ensures that the dividends of true democracy are all encompassing- fair, effective, and beneficial for everyone.

So, why should you care about this fancy term? Well buckle up because it's about more than just being "nice!"

Now imagine:

  • A parliament that actually reflects the population it serves: Not just men in suits, but a diverse mix of voices, including women who understand the unique needs and challenges faced by half the community.

  • Policies that genuinely help everyone: Gender mainstreaming brings diverse perspectives to the table, leading to laws and programs that actually reach and benefit everyone.

  • Unlocking potential: Studies show that reducing the gender gap leads to bigger economies and happier societies. By empowering women and ensuring their optimal participation in key aspects of society, we tap into their talents and unleash a wave of progress that benefits all.

  • Justice and human rights: Denying people equal rights based on gender goes against basic human decency. And guess what? Democracies are supposed to champion human rights, not undermine them.

If these found expression in the practical realities of both men and women, we can actively embed gender into every aspect of the democratic process; we can create a more inclusive, effective, and legitimate democracy that truly works for everyone.

But how do we make this "gender mainstreaming" thing happen?

People are the propellers of society and history is replete with instances where gender has either made or marred the prospects of an individual path to personal success. Therefore, when gender perspectives are integrated into legislation and policies, it infuses a more human approach to democracy. It is not enough to make laws that declare that all are equal regardless of sex, race, or economic status. In actuality, it goes further than that. Questions like: How are these laws and policies made? Who makes them (in terms of their gender makeup)? How do they cater to the differences inherent in the genders of those they apply to? And how do we ensure that institutions and systems are not counterproductive to the democratic aspirations of true equality and equal representation? These, and many more should form part of the guiding lines of inquiry that inform decisions and actions pertaining to gender equality.

Think of it as a toolbox with some pretty neat tools:

  • Representation: More women in government, from local councils to parliaments!

  • Policies: Laws that consider the needs of everyone, not just the "default male."

  • Grassroots power: Supporting women's organizations and encouraging diverse voices at a grassroots level.

  • Tech for good: Using technology to bridge the gap and empower women politically and economically.

This is not just about achieving gender equality (although that's pretty awesome), it's about strengthening the very core of democracy as we have previously emphasized. When everyone has a seat at the table and has their voices heard, our democracies become more inclusive, effective, and truly representative of the people they serve.

So, are you ready to join the movement for a more democratic democracy? Let's get started! Share this post, learn more about this campaign, talk to your friends and family, and demand a system that works for everyone. Because true democracy means leaving no voice unheard.

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