FemPo

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Our mission is to elect African Women.

Our vision is for a future in which women and men hold equal positions of political power.

Our goal is to link the most worthy African women who seek political office to broad audiences by establishing a portal through which people all over the world can obtain information on African women candidates across the continent.

Why Women?

Our mission to elect African women is based on a belief in democratic values and the efficacy of women leaders. All 54 member states of the African Union (AU) agreed in the organization’s founding charter to “promote democratic principles and institutions.” Democratic institutions must be representative of the people they govern. Today, women make up half the population, but hold less than 25 percent of parliamentary seats across sub-Saharan Africa. Many countries, particularly starting in southern and eastern Africa, have built gender equality into their constitutions and employed a range of innovative policies to mandate or incentivize gender quotas.

There are bright spots. Rwanda, for example, leads the world in percentage of women parliamentarians with Rwandan women holding 63.8 percent of seats in the national legislature’s lower house. However, many others across the continent lag behind. This includes Rwanda’s larger neighbor to the west, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where women hold only 8.9 percent and 4.6 percent of seats in the lower and upper houses, respectively. Fulfilling gender quota goals and democratic principles outlined in the AU’s Charter and in national constitutions will require an immense and determined effort.

Nonetheless, we believe that including more women in governance is good not only for democratic principles, but policy outcomes as well. Research in Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Africa has shown that having more women parliamentarians is linked with greater inclusion of women’s perspectives and interests in legislative debates and decision-making. There is also a preponderance of evidence from countries facing armed conflict that where there is greater political participation of women, the probability of violence continuing diminishes significantly. The Liberian women who led the peace movement that ended the country’s civil war in 2003 stand as a powerful testament to the political impact African women can have when they organize and take action.

We are fully aware of the multitude and magnitude of challenges that African women and their communities face in building a better future. Yet, we are confident that having more women at the decision-making table in countries across Africa will strengthen democratic principles and engender more inclusive, peaceful governance.