Expanding political inclusion is a cross-cutting objective for NDI. Democracy is more likely to develop and endure when all segments of a society are free to participate in and influence political outcomes without suffering discrimination or reprisal. But in many new and emerging democracies, large portions of the population are excluded from politics based on their age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or other identity factors. NDI works to increase the participation of these communities so they can have a voice in the political process and achieve a greater level of equality, understanding that political participation is a fundamental means of addressing the social and economic inequities associated with marginalization. Using a two-track approach, NDI partners with local groups to eliminate overt barriers, challenge negative stereotypes of marginalized populations and support their voice in mainstream politics. This entails involving members of marginalized communities in traditional political activities alongside other citizens, such as election observation or issue advocacy, while encouraging political parties, elected officials and government institutions to reach out to these populations and take their interests into account. NDI also works directly with organizations and networks representing marginalized populations to help them address particular institutions, laws and processes that exclude them. Targeted support might assist them with advocating for legal reforms, getting elected to political office or pressuring governments to sign an international agreement, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
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NDI's work upholds the idea that democracy is a human right – a principle enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But it's a human right that many around the world still struggle to attain. You can be part of the solution. Join the movement for democracy.