Women and Power-Sharing: Leadership and Strategies

Oslo, Norway, 15-16 May 1998


The equal participation of women and men in government, in the economy, in cultural life and in society is reflective of the level of democracy in that society. A true democracy cannot and does not exclude women. This is true for communities, nations and international institutions.

For Socialist International Women, however, the goal is not simply to elect more women to positions of power in the world's parliaments. The social, economic and political structures that prevent women from truly exercising their rights in a democratic society must also be changed. We must understand the gender ramifications of policies in order to establish policies and programmes that will enhance women's equality and empowerment.

Thus, from the point of view of socialist, social democratic and labour women, several aspects of gender politics must be addressed in order for women to achieve equality. Measures must be implemented to ensure that women are represented at all levels of government and party structure. Affirmative action must be taken to promote women within these institutions, for example:

  • the preparation of more gender-balanced lists of candidates for elections of any kind;
  • the assurance of gender-balanced representation in party structures;
  • the promotion of women to leadership positions, such as ministries and executive positions in international institutions;
  • the close scrutiny of the media to ensure that women's issues are put on the public agenda and that women in public positions are well represented.

The promotion of women in and of itself will not necessarily strengthen women's position in society. Strong support should be given to women who are committed to strengthening women's position in society. Women elected to office should act on their commitment by addressing the social, economic and cultural barriers facing most women.

An important strategy for achieving power for women is to reshape policies and programmes to ensure that the situation of women is positively addressed. We must support programmes that provide for investment in people, and particularly women. Such programmes will address those areas where gender differences and inequalities place an additional burden on women. Programmes must also be evaluated to ensure that they do not explicitly or implicitly discriminate against women.

Ensuring the equality and empowerment of women will thus require nothing less than the restructuring of our societies, economies and governments. The equal representation of women and men in decision-making processes in politics and economics, in addition to being an issue of human rights and democracy, contributes to good governance and ensures a more just and productive development of societies.



Nobel Peace Prize 2018

05 October 2018

The Socialist International Women (SIW) would like to warmly congratulate the Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad on winning the 2018 Nobel peace prize for their work on combating sexual violence...

Obituary - Maria Jonas

01 February 1940 - 25 September 2018

We were deeply saddened to hear today that our comrade and friend Maria Jonas, former Secretary General of Socialist International Women, has died at the age of 78 years...

Coucil Meeting

Geneva, Switzerland, 28 and 29 June 2018

For a World 50-50 in 2030 – The Great Challenges

Socialist International Women denounces brutal attacks on Palestinian demonstrators

17 May 2018

The Socialist International Women strongly denounces the use of lethal fire by Israeli military forces against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza on Sunday 14 May 2018...

Connecting Rural Women – E-Development and Rural Women's Empowerment

16 March 2018

62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 12 to 23 March 2018

Side Event hosted by the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the UN; the Mongolian People’s Party; Socialist International Women(SIW) and PES Women

Empowering Rural Women: Granting Universal Rights to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

15 March 2018

62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 12 to 23 March 2018

Parallel Event hosted by the Socialist International Women (SIW), PES Women and Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS)

International Women's Day Declaration

08 March 2018

In solidarity and recognition of the immense societal, economic and political achievements of women and girls worldwide Socialist International Women is proud to support International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018...

Statement on Unilateral Decision by the United States of America to Recognise Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

07 December 2017

The Socialist International Women (SIW) disapproves the decision of President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv...

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2017

Socialist International Women affirms its support for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women as an opportunity to focus on the continuing suffering and oppression of women and girls worldwide, and the vital roles that governments and individuals have in creating positive change...

Council Meeting

Barcelona, Spain, 21 and 22 November 2017

Democracy in Crisis, Populism on the Rise - Where do Women's Rights fit in?

Council Meeting

United Nations, New York, 14 July 2017

Rural Areas, Media and ICT - New Challenges and More Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment

In Memory of Carmen Chacón

13 March 1971 - 09 April 2017

The Socialist International Women was deeply saddened to receive the news of the death of Carmen Chacón on 09 April 2017 at the age of 46 years...

Council Meeting and XXI Congress

25 - 27 February 2017

Gender Inequality in the World Today – Understanding the New Challenges and Ending Gender Inequality by 2030


The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women