A “breakthrough” in people’s perception on women’s political participation



On 7 May 2012, the National Committee on Gender Equality of Mongolia launched the second public perception study on women’s political participation. This study - the final activity supported by the UNDP/DGTTF project “Representation and Inclusiveness through Electoral System” (RITES) confirmed a major achievement in terms of changing perceptions. Ms. Oyungerel, leader of Women’s Section of the Democratic Party, said: “Changing public mindset is always difficult and takes time. But people’s perception about women’s political participation changed a lot in the last two years. This is a breakthrough”.

The repeat study confirmed that the majority of respondents (74.4%) support equal participation of women and men in political decision making. As compared with a year ago, more people associated the underrepresentation of women in parliament with electoral system and less with cultural factors.

Highligts:

  • National Forum on “Women and Human Development” with over 500 delegates; gender sensitive training for journalists on democratic elections, “Women Can” media campaign, workshop for women leaders on key development issues, meeting of Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, with women leaders, meeting of Ms. Winnie Byanyima, Director of UNDP Gender Team, with secretaries of political parties, as well as the regional conference on political equality in Asia jointly organized with Asia Pacific Regional Center (APRC).
  • The RITES project also supported provincial level workshops of women leaders in four regions. Each workshop was attended by 40-60 women representing different political parties or local NGOs.

Ms.Battsetseg, another representative of Women’s Section of Democratic Party said: “Ten years ago it was only few active women who were fighting for political equality and women’s political empowerment. Now we see many male politicians who advocate for gender equality in politics. The media has become a strong player, too”.

Another woman, representing Civil Will party noted that women of different parties now talk to one another and are more united and coordinated in their advocacy for women’s political participation. They hardly greeted each other before. 

The RITES project also supported provincial level workshops of women leaders in four regions. Each workshop was attended by 40-60 women representing different political parties or local NGOs.

A woman who participated in Umnugobi workshop said: “It is very hard for a woman to carry out political activities in rural areas and sometimes we give up. But this workshop energized us and gave us strength to continue and to do more. We feel we are not forgotten”. 

A woman who participated in Umnugobi workshop said: “It is very hard for a woman to carry out political activities in rural areas and sometimes we give up. But this workshop energized us and gave us strength to continue and to do more. We feel we are not forgotten”. 

Road to political equality is never easy. In last two years, in cooperation with the National Committee on Gender Equality and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on State Structure, the UNDP project undertook a series of activities to tackle the issue of women’s political participation.

These have included the National Forum on “Women and Human Development” with over 500 delegates; gender sensitive training for journalists on democratic elections, “Women Can” media campaign, workshop for women leaders on key development issues, meeting of Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, with women leaders, meeting of Ms. Winnie Byanyima, Director of UNDP Gender Team, with secretaries of political parties, as well as the regional conference on political equality in Asia jointly organized with Asia Pacific Regional Center (APRC).  

The role of the media was remarkable. The media strategy consisted of key messages extracted from the perception study, TV ads complemented by other types of media activities, including interviews, open forum discussions, and broad coverage of high level events. The media kept women’s political equality agenda at the centre of the public attention all year round and at increased frequency during the campaign.

With women making up only 3.9 percent in the national parliament, Mongolia is one of the countries lagging behind in terms of women’s political representation at decision making level.

Next parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in June 2012. No matter what the results of elections would be, women in Mongolia are now clearly more determined to exercise their right to elect and to get elected.


Ms. Dolgor B., Deputy Chair of the National Committee on Gender Equality is participating in media interviews, promoting role of women’s participation in political agenda.