Focusing on women to build democracy

Photo of three women standing in line, with a smiling younger woman in the front and two older women standing behind her

Women are agents of democratic change © Ezequiel Scagnetti

Promoting women's participation in politics and ensuring that gender issues are incorporated into legislation and political practices are key objectives of the European Parliament's approach to democracy support.

Parliament's Simone Veil Programme helps empower women - and in particular women parliamentarians. This programme is Parliament's response to a need expressed by elected representatives from non-EU countries when visiting the European Parliament.

The programme makes it possible for women politicians and MEPs to discuss best practices to enhance women's participation in politics, make legislation gender-sensitive, and monitor the budgetary process in terms of gender. Some prominent areas of concern include marriage and family law, protection from gender-based violence, succession and property ownership, and nationality and citizenship.

The programme highlights women's influence over the legislative agenda in many countries.

More focused training sessions within the programme may cover topics such as
  • consensus building, political negotiation and advocacy, including skills such as building alliances and mapping the political landscape to identify allies and opponents;
  • leadership and personal skills, including self-esteem, public speaking, self-assertion, well-being and resilience;
  • media engagement, political campaigning, advocacy and fundraising, in particular in the run-up to elections;
  • ways to challenge stereotypes and cultural barriers.
The principal beneficiaries are women from countries and regions that the European Parliament has identified as priorities in its annual programme. Parliament can also cater to specific demands from other countries.

Study visit of Members of Montenegro Parliament's Gender Equality Committee: February 2018

Study visit of Nigerian women parliamentarians, October 2017

Inter-parliamentary meeting on women's economic empowerment, March 2017: Let's act together!

Study visit, March 2017: Moroccan women parliamentarians

Regional parliamentary conference, July 2016: The role of parliaments in fighting gender-based violence