Bureau of International Organization Affairs
September 22, 2003
U.S. Goals for Improving Women's Political Participation
"The worldwide advancement of women's issues is not only in keeping with the deeply held
values of the American people; it is strongly in our national interest. Women's issues affect not
only women; they have profound implications for all humankind. We, as a world community,
cannot even begin to tackle the array of problems and challenges confronting us without the full
and equal participation of women in all aspects of life."
--U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
March 7, 2002
The United States is deeply committed to advancing women's issues and will sponsor a resolution on "Women and Political Participation" at the 2003 UN General Assembly. Political participation involves not only voting but also advocating, governing, and serving in elected and appointed positions, and being involved in decisionmaking processes, including conflict prevention and resolution. Increased involvement by women in these activities improves societies and communities and strengthens democracy.
Any resolution on women and political participation must be based on principles of pluralism that reflect humankind's aspirations. The U.S.-sponsored resolution recognizes that empowering women and improving their economic, social, and political status is essential to achieving representative, transparent, and accountable government; democratic institutions; and sustainable development. Without women's active participation in all levels of decisionmaking, the goals of equality, development, and peace cannot be attained.
The U.S.-sponsored resolution calls upon nations to:
- Promote and protect the rights of women on an equal basis with men, to associate freely, express their views publicly, debate policies openly, and petition their government;
- Promote equal access to education, information technology, and economic opportunities that enable women to fully take part in the decisionmaking process;
- Eliminate laws and regulations that discriminate against women and prevent them from participating in the political process;
- Encourage political parties to seek qualified women candidates and to fund training programs in the conducting of political campaigns and parliamentary procedures; and
- Support initiatives--including public-private partnerships and exchange programs--to develop women's political, management, and leadership skills, and to educate women on the importance of voting or serving as elected and appointed officials.
The resolution also invites governments, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and other actors of civil society to:
- Help women prepare to assume legislative, judicial, and executive positions in government through recruitment and career development programs; and
- Encourage the media to recognize the importance of women's participation in the political process, address issues of concern to women, and provide equal opportunities for coverage of women candidates.