Enabling Women’s Political Participation in Mali
In 2020 the Swedish Postcode Foundation and CARE joined forces to support women’s voice, leadership, and political participation in Mali.
Through the project, a total of 600 women aspiring to be involved in political life have received training in leadership skills, women’s rights, women’s participation, gender equality, rights and obligations, public speaking, and the electoral processes.
Mali ranks among the least gender equal countries in the world. Women’s political participation is hindered due to lack of knowledge about women’s rights, limited political will and implementation of the national gender quota law, as well as discriminatory social and gender norms.
Building confidence for political participation
Due to the prevailing social and gender norms, many women in Mali have not had the self-esteem to raise their voice in public. A key component of the project was therefore to build confidence among all the aspiring women to speak up and claim their rights.
“Training was given to us so that we could have the strength and the courage to run for positions, because at the beginning, I did not have the courage to speak out because I was afraid.” Kadidia Rita Diarra, President of aspiring women’s platform, 33 years old, Mopti region.
Of the 600 women, 300 will aim to run for positions at various levels in future elections. To support these women’s candidatures, they received further training on public speaking, CV development, campaigning and advocacy techniques, resource mobilization and entrepreneurship.
Engaging men for women’s leadership
A key component of the project was to engage men to reflect on and contribute to transforming behaviors and attitudes that hinder women’s political participation.
With this project, 200 men have been engaged and trained on topics such as the importance of women’s participation in leadership positions, citizenship, and electoral processes. The men have sensitized their local communities to galvanize further support to women’s political participation.
Coordination and advocacy
To facilitate collective and strategic planning and action among the 600 women moving forward, 23 platforms have been established at different administrative levels in the two regions, Mopti and Segou.
CARE has also partnered with national and local networks and umbrella organizations to support women’s access to information about political opportunities and processes. These different networks and partnerships will be key to empower and enable women’s voices to be heard, their access to leadership roles and political networks in formal and informal decision-making structures.
Several events with different stakeholders, including local authorities, have been organized and broadcasted on national TV and radio channels to promote women’s participation in decision-making among the public.
“I knew CARE through their work in our locality. Because I saw the impact of CARE in our village, they brought together women and young girls to teach them, and help them grow.” Kadida Konate, Présidente du reseau communal de Madiam.