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Quotas for women MPs? A response to Glenys Kinnock

Parliamentary and legislative quotas are an excellent first step to ensure the equal representation of men and women within national governance which, as Glenys Kinnock points out, can also have positive effects for the economic and social development of a country.

We are focusing on gender equality and the empowerment of women within much of our work as we believe there is a double dividend- not only in economic terms but for the health and wellbeing of future populations.

When women are empowered to control their own reproductive health, household expenditure, and to manage their own incomes, there are considerable benefitis for child survival and wellbeing.

But empowering women in hard to reach rural communities, or in places where there are discriminatory social attitudes and norms requires more than simply “X%” of women sitting in parliamentary seats.

Gender equality is a multi-layered issue that needs a multi-layered response; women need economic opportunities and spaces to exercise voice and political participation.

Work must be done to improve understanding and buy-in within local communities and, above all, there must be constant partnership with men and boys.

We welcome Glenys Kinnock’s call for women to have full participation in the business of their country, but we also call on the international community to sit up and realise that progress needs to be achieved now and at every level – from the household to the government – if we are to have any hope of meeting the MDG targets.

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