Women’s Political Networks: Defining Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Fostering Change | Wilson Center
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Women’s Political Networks: Defining Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Fostering Change

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Since 1995, the world average of women in parliament has grown from 11.3 percent to 22.7 percent. Although progress is slow going, multiple initiatives can be credited for building momentum behind equal representation. The Beijing Platform for Action, an agenda for women’s empowerment, is one example along with the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, which includes the fill and effective participation of women in all aspects of life. And women’s political networks have been critical to driving progress and implementation of these initiatives. 

Women’s networks are not necessarily substitutive, but complementary with respect to policies aimed at increasing women’s descriptive representation. To better understand the role of women’s networks, the Women in Public Service Project is pleased to release the publication "Women's Political Networks: Defining Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Fostering Change," a research paper and toolkit by Lucina Di Meco, gender expert and Director of the Girls' Education Program at Room to Read.

Di Meco’s paper seeks to understand the impact women’s political networks have globally in supporting women overcome the universal cultural and structural barriers they face in engaging in a political career. With best practices from national, regional and international networks, this paper explores the role and modus operandi networks have adopted in supporting women running for national office in congressional or parliamentary elections, enhancing their effectiveness and shaping their leadership once in office.

Please join the Women in Public Service Project and publication author Lucina Di Meco for the launch of this unique resource for emerging women leaders and global stakeholders. The first in a multi-city series of launches, the event will include a conversation with women leaders leveraging networks and technology to make a difference at all levels of decision-making around the world. The discussion will highlight the ways in which political networks can help women leaders break barriers and drive change toward global gender parity.

Photo: Northrop Grumman/The Wilson Center




  • Lucina Di Meco

    Global Fellow, Global Women's Leadership Initiative
    Senior Gender Expert
  • Michelle Bekkering

    Deputy Assistant Administrator, E3 Bureau and Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, USAID
  • Susan Markham

    Smash Strategies