Building Blocks for Gender Equality: fostering women’s inclusion in politics

Dec 4, 2015

Front row, Ms Elizabeth Weir and Hon. Gatoloai Amataga Gidlow at the book launch. Photo credit: UNDP/F.Mondello/2015

Despite some progress, from the local to the global level, women remain largely marginalized and under-represented in all aspects of political life. 

Women’s participation in decision –making is still a challenge and is restricted regardless their right to participate equally in democratic governance and their proven abilities as leaders and agents of change.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women, in partnership with the governments of Samoa and Australia, advocate for women’s political rights and through the implementation of the Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS) programme are providing training for those women who want to run for office. 

IPPWS’ trainings aims at supporting women to overcome the barriers they face by strenghtening their skills to exercise leadership and contribute to political life for the benefit of the entire nation. 

As part of the programme, UNDP and UNWomen have launched today a handbook titled “Building Blocks for Gender Equality: What Political Parties Can Do to Strengthen the Participation and Representation of Women.” The publication was written by Elizabeth Weir, Canadian national and senior international parliamentary expert, that is also facilitating the IPPWS trainings in Samoa. 

As we read in the introduction of the handbook: “Political parties have a pivotal role to play in creating an open an inclusive political culture – one where women are welcomed and their opinions valued. It is often said that political parties are the “gateways” to seats in parliaments.” 

Ms. Weir declared: “The publication identifies targeted interventions for promoting the stronger presence and influence of women in political parties. It highlights the benefits for the parties of taking action on Gender Equality, indicate effective measures for ensuring women’s participation in the operations of the party and provide ideas on how to offer financial and mentoring support to candidates during the election process.” 

Contact information

Mrs. Francesca Mondello, UN Communication Specialist, United Nations Resident Coordinator Office - Phone: +685 23670 ext 59 - Email:

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