What do Madeleine Albright, Kamala Harris and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls initiative have in common? They’re all working toward inspiring the next generation of women leaders (join them). Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls initiative is “...dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves” and changing the world by “being themselves”.
In 1996, UN-sponsored peace accords ended 36 years of civil war in Guatemala. While democratic progress has been made in the last two decades, political corruption and organized crime have proved to be major obstacles. Weak institutions, extreme concentration of wealth and one of the highest homicide rates in the world have further exacerbated Guatemala’s problems.
Despite comprising almost half of the Nigerian population, youth have been historically marginalized from entering politics at a state and federal level. Aspiring to increase youth’s participation in Nigerian politics, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), Youngstars Development Initiative (YDI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) partnered to launch the “Not Too Young To Run” (NTYTR) campaign.
On May 4, the Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES) based in Spain awarded the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) with its 2016 Freedom Award in recognition of each organization’s work individually and jointly to support freedom and democracy around the world.
Approximately 60 percent of Guinea’s population is under the age of 24, but young people in the West African nation continue to be underrepresented in politics. Their interests and priorities are largely ignored in policies and electoral strategies. More often than not, youth interested in politics find themselves marginalized and feel disenfranchised—a feeling that is shared by many citizens of all age groups in Guinea.
While Iraqi security forces continue to make progress liberating territories from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), citizens are increasingly focused on the dire economic situation and rampant corruption, which they face on a daily basis. Findings from NDI’s public opinion research indicate that Iraqis feel disconnected from their elected representatives, who they see as apathetic to their concerns and input. They view political parties—not the people—as needing to reconcile and move on to their responsibilities to govern.
A widespread perception among Nigerians is that a vote for a woman is wasted as she cannot win or should not lead—a perception that hampers women from rising in the ranks within parties and from winning elected office. These negative stereotypes about women's political participation exist partly because the information sources that Nigerians trust most, like community leaders or journalists, do not challenge these views and instead negatively portray women in public life.
On May 2nd, the National Democratic Institute hosted its tenth annual Madeleine K. Albright Luncheon, which honors those who promote women leaders. Women Act for a Living Together (WALT) was presented with the 2017 Madeleine K. Albright award for their work in helping women bring peace, social cohesion and reconciliation amidst 20 years of devastation and crisis in the Central African Republic.
Lebanon is the oldest democracy in the Middle East, granting women the right to vote and run for office in 1953. So why, more than six decades later, does Lebanon have so few women in its parliament? According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Lebanon ranks 185 out of 193 countries surveyed with only 3 percent of women in its 128-seat parliament. This low rate is not for lack of qualified women. Women now account for more than half of university graduates in Lebanon and can be found in senior level positions in the private sector, civil society, and academic institutions.