The Reading Room

This section features occasional papers, research works, case studies, feature articles and news reports on women's participation in politics, not necessarily limited to Asian and Pacific women.

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National elections and women candidates in Solomon Islands: Results from the People’s Survey (2012)

A striking feature of elected governments in Solomon Islands is the general scarcity of women. Although some community elders are women and women have achieved senior positions in the public service and civil society, very few women have been elected to provincial governments and only one has ever won a seat in the national Parliament. Many organizations helped to encourage, organise and support women candidates and in the 2010 election women contested 21 of the 50 seats. Despite this, women candidates received only 4% of the vote in the 21 seats they contested. Download paper here.

The Modalities, Conditions, Advantages, Disadvantages and Experiences of Setting up an All-women Political Party (2012)

Despite comprising more than 50 percent of the world's population, women continue to lack access to political leadership opportunities and resources at all levels of government. Women’s equal participation in decision-making is not only a demand for simple justice or democracy. Governance structures which do not result in the equal participation of men and women, or their equal enjoyment of benefits from state interventions are by definition neither inclusive nor democratic. Download paper here.

Alternative Pathways for Women into Politics (2012)

This holistic approach includes both traditional and alternative pathways women in Asia have taken to become successful, influential political leaders. It recognizes the importance of quotas, other temporary special measures (TSMs), electoral reforms, political parties-TRADITIONAL PATHWAYS for women becoming leaders. It supports ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS that will increase leadership opportunities for more women. Catalysts in a woman’s journey to politics are financial empowerment, family support, moral capital and leadership training. Download paper here.

2011-2012 Progress of the World’s Women in Pursuit of Justice (2012)

In 1911, women were allowed to vote in just two countries of the world. Today, a century later, that right is virtually universal.  During this time, women have continuously expanded their political rights so that, at the time of writing, 28 countries have reached or exceeded the 30 percent critical mass mark for women in parliament and 19 women are currently serving as elected Heads of State or Government. Alongside women’s greater political influence, there has been a growing recognition of women’s rights, not only political and civil, but also economic, social and cultural. Download paper here.

Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties (2011)

The right of women to participate in political life is guaranteed by several international conventions. But transforming an abstract right into a reality requires hard work on the ground. Political parties are key to women’s participation in politics, as it is political parties that recruit and select candidates for elections and that determine a country’s policy agenda. However, within political parties women tend to be overrepresented at the grassroots level or in supporting roles and underrepresented in positions of power. It is understandable that women’s participation in political parties has remained well below that of men. Download paper here.

Gender-Sensitive Parliaments (2011)

The Gender-sensitive Parliaments project set out to examine the gender sensitivity of parliaments around the world. Parliaments mirror our societies. They aspire to represent and respond to everyday reality.  In 2008 the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) launched a global study of women in parliament, Equality in Politics: A survey of women and men in parliament. A clear finding of this survey was that women are overwhelmingly the main drivers of progress in gender equality in parliament, but that parliaments, as institutions, also have responsibilities. Download paper here.

Women's Rights and Agenda (2011)

The constitution must ensure equal opportunity, access and respect for all. It must also make special provision for previously marginalised and disadvantaged groups. The Women’s Caucus is a common forum for women members of the Constituent Assembly, and bearing a historical obligation to represent the voice of women in the making of the new constitution. It is hoped that the new constitution will uphold women’s rights as full and equal citizens and help to eliminate the discrimination and exploitation faced by Nepalese women. Through the hard work of the Women’s Caucus, the rights and interests of women have been raised in the Constituent Assembly. Download paper here.

Yes I can Leadership for Teens Ages 13 – 17 years  (2011)

The WLP Partnership believes that thoughtful and empowered young people will be strong community leaders and effective champions of universal rights. Young people, especially girls, need encouragement, education, and skills to speak up and speak out. There is a keen responsibility to engage the youth in democracy, gender equity, and participatory leadership in order to prepare them for greater opportunities in the new millennium. The program is founded on the idea that the most significant factor in bringing about change is recognition of young women’s agency, and that they have a vital role in helping to create equitable, just, and peaceful societies. Download paper here.

Democracy and the Challenge of Change-  A Guide to Increasing Women’s Political Participation (2010)

It is true that the role of women in democracy has been debated for as long as democracy has existed. The debate, however, is over. Women are entitled to equality in voting, organizing, running for office, starting a business,    obtain­ing credit, expressing their views, and benefiting from the rights and protections of law.  In the modern world, women’s empowerment is not merely a goal, but a cornerstone of democratic growth. This is because women raise issues that others overlook, devote energy to projects that others ignore, reach out to constitu­encies that others neglect, and help societies to move forward together. Download paper here.


Power, Voice and Rights- A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific (2010)


The Asia-Pacific region has witnessed remarkable economic progress and rapid development in recent decades, yet gender inequality remains entrenched even through this era of change. The region lags behind on gender parity on multiple counts, despite progress on several other dimensions. While overall indicators for economic prosperity, educational attainments and access to healthcare have improved for the region’s population over the recent decades, gender gaps have not closed. Achieving gender equality promotes human development— not only for women, but for whole societies, and is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Download paper here.

Women’s Representation in Local Government in Asia Pacific- Status Report 2010

 More Asia Pacific countries than ever before have elected local governments and national parliaments. Despite the progress made in establishing democratic institutions in the Asia Pacifi c, women continue to participate unequally both as voters and as candidates. Equality of opportunity in politics is a human right. Despite international efforts to strengthen the conduct of free and fair elections throughout the world, insufficient attention and resources have been devoted to addressing the gap between male and female political participation. Download paper here.

Parliaments Take Action on VAW (2009)

Parliament - and the men and women who legislate in it - is strategically placed to drive the changes at the national level that can help put an end to violence against women and girls. In 2006, the Member Parliaments of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) adopted a resolution in which they undertook to adopt concrete measures to combat violence against women. Since then, the IPU has been supporting their efforts in this regard, convinced that the efforts of parliaments can yield tangible results. Download paper here.

Participation in Constitution Making (2009)

The Women and Constitution Building Initiative in Nepal was initiated in the spirit of a newly-formed Constitution Assembly (CA) which saw the election of a high percentage of women.  Strategies were needed to support the creation of an inclusive political environment in a crucial period of Nepal's history. The initiative aims at: (1) Developing knowledge resources to support a gender inclusive process and a gender sensitive constitution, (2) Establishing a connection with international experts (cross-party and across all age groups) and, (3) Facilitating dialogue between key stakeholders working on constitution building with a gender perspective. Download paper here.

Women’s Control over Economic Resources and Access to Financial Resources, including Microfinance (2009

Women’s equal access to and control over economic and financial resources is critical for the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women and for equitable and sustainable economic growth and development. Gender equality in the distribution of economic and financial resources has positive multiplier effects for a range of key development goals, including poverty reduction and the welfare of children. Both micro level efficiency results through increased household productivity and macro efficiency results through positive synergies between indicators of gender equality and economic growth have been recorded. Download paper here.

Experiences in implementing parity laws to improve women's political representation (2008)

Despite comprising more than 50 percent of the world's population, women continue to lack access to political leadership opportunities and resources at all levels of government. Womens equal participation in decision-making is not only a demand for simple justice or democracy, but a necessary pre-condition for womens interests to be taken into account. Governance structures which do not result in the equal participation of men and women, or their equal enjoyment of benefits from state interventions are by definition neither inclusive nor democratic. Download paper here.

The Constituent Assembly of Nepal: An Agenda for Women (2008)

Nepal is making a new constitution, which will be a culmination of the People's Movement, and thus must be based on the aspirations of the people of Nepal. The representation of women in the principal law making body in the country has risen from 57 (and that only since January 2007) to 197 (32.77 percent of 601, or 33 per cent of the elected members). Women have the opportunity to make an impact for the benefit of all women in Nepal. It is also a moment for women with considerable experience in parliament or in public life or civil society to take a lead and to assist women with less familiarity with political settings. Download paper here.

The Impact of Women Legislators on Policy Outcomes Affecting Children and Families in Rwanda (2007)

Research demonstrates that, when empowered, women make decisions that positively affect children and families. Scholars in the field of women and development have been able to demonstrate for many years that economic investments in women are far more likely to positively impact the lives of children than the same investments in men. It stands to reason, then, that the inclusion of women in national legislatures would result in positive policy outcomes for children and families. There have been a limited number of opportunities to test this thesis as women constitute only 16.6% of parliaments worldwide. Rwanda’s parliament provides a unique opportunity to examine the behavior of a national legislature that has nearly equal representation of men and women in its lower house, and to examine the impact on women parliamentarians on policies related to children and families. Download paper here.

Governance & Gender Equality (2006)

Gender equality is an important goal in itself and a means for achieving development. Development policies and institutions must ensure that all segments of society - both women and men - have a voice in decision making, either directly, or through institutions that legitimately represent their interests and needs. Yet, persistent and pervasive gender disparities in opportunities, rights vis-à-vis the state and public institutions, and voice, particularly limit women’s ability to participate as full citizens in social, economic, and political life. The exclusion of women from full participation constrains the ability of public sector policies and institutions to manage economic and social resources effectively. Such gender-based exclusion compromises the prospects for high-quality service delivery. Download paper here.

Strengthening democracy through women's political participation (2000)

We are seeing women who are emerging as builders of democracy. Women who are registering to vote and who are making their vote count. Women who are coming to the forefront in countries that do not have a democratic tradition but are working in that direction. Conditions for promoting democracy may not be all that comfortable, but women’s groups are finding that they can become a force for democratic change. Many times, because they are women’s groups, they can begin by operating under the radar so to speak, without drawing much attention from hostile authorities. After a while, their numbers grow and their influence is clearly seen and heard. Download the document in Acrobat PDF format.

The rise of women leaders in the Philippines (2001)

Two women have risen to the presidency in the Philippines in the last fifteen years. Corazon Aquino, the first female to ascend to the presidency in the country's history, was elected after the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos amidst charges of criminal wrongdoing. Fifteen years later, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo succeeded Joseph Estrada, who had been accused of corruption and plundering the Philippine economy. Not only is it rare for a woman to be elected president, but it is also least expected in countries like the Philippines that have a long history of patriarchy, oligarchy, and subordination of women. Download the document in Acrobat PDF format.

in local governments in Asia and the Pacific: A comparative analysis of thirteen countries (2001)

This report, which is prepared for the Asia Pacific Summit of Women Mayors and Councillors, highlights barriers to women's involvement; inititiatives that increased women's participation; the transformative leadership that women provide; and regional and country-level strategies for increasing women's involvement. Download the document in Acrobat PDF format.

Young Women Leaders: A Real Trend or Utopia (2000)

In Malaysia, the role of women is so important because they represent more than 50 per cent of voters. Although this figure is not necessarily indicative of women’s participation in politics, it is important to note that most of the campaigners for the ruling National Front consists of women, popularly known as Wanita UMNO. But most of these WANITA UMNO now have to face the challenge from WANITA KEADILAN and the rest of the Alternative Front, which consists of the main opposition parties. Download the document in Acrobat PDF format.

Women, Bureaucracy and the Governance of Poverty in Southeast Asia: Integrating Gender and Participatory Governance in Poverty Reduction programs in the Philippines and Vietnam (1999)

The relationship between gender planning, good governance, and poverty reduction efforts in Southeast Asian states is explored in this study, using Vietnam and the Philippines as case studies for the period 1986 to 1998. Download the document in Acrobat PDF format.

Special from the UNESCAP website: Country reports on the state of women in urban local governments in Asia and the Pacific
To download each report, click on the desired country.


New Zealand
People's Republic of China

Sri Lanka


Gender Analysis for Project Planners, the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, Canada (2007). Download the Document.

Gender Statistics: An Evaluation, Esther Breitenbach (2006). Download the Document.

An Introduction to Gender Audit Methodology: Its Design and Implementation in DFID Malawi, Caroline Moser (2005). Download the document.

Gender Analysis: Making Policies, Programs and Services Gender-Aware, Department for Community Development, Office for Women's Policy (2005). Download the Document.

An Introduction to Gender Budget Initiatives, Elaine Zuckerman, President of Gender Action, Finland (2005). Download the Document.

Socio-Economic Impacts of Natural Disasters: A Gender Analysis, Sarah Bradshaw (2004). Download the Document.

Introduction to Gender Analysis, Concepts and Steps, Juliet Hunt, Independent Consultant (2004). Download the Document. 

Guide to Best Practices in Gender Analysis, Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services, British Columbia (2003). Download the Document.

Women State Legislators: Past, Present and Future.
(US, 2001). Download the document.

Unrealized Opportunity? Term Limits and the Representation of
Women in State Legislatures. (2001).
Download the document

The Impact of Term Limits on Women. (2001).
Download the document

Lessons from the participation of women in politics. (2000). Download the document.

Women in the move in politics worldwide. (2000). Download the document.

Women's political participation and good governance. (2000). Download the document.

Gender Differences in Print Media Coverage of Presidential Candidates: Elizabeth Dole's Bid for the Republican Nomination. (US, 1999). Download the document.

Can women transform politics: Women's demands for equal representation as a catalyst of institutional change in Britain and France. (1997). Download the document.

Equality Deferred:
Women Candidates for the New Jersey Assembly 1920-1993. (1994). Download the document.

Representing Women: Congresswomen's Perceptions of Their Representational Role. Download the document.

Legislating by and for Women: A Comparison of the 103rd and 104th Congresses. Download the document.


New Zealand, Fifth Periodic Report, October 2002                             

New Zealand, Sixth Periodic Report, May 2006  

Australia, Third Periodic Report, September 1995                       

Australia, Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports, February 2004

Vanuatu, Combined Initial, Second and Third Periodic Reports, November 2005

Fiji Islands, Initial Report, March 2000

Samoa, Combined Initial, Second and Third Period Reports, June 2003

Azerbaijan, Initial Report, September 1996                             

Azerbaijan, Combined Second and Third Periodic Reports, March 2005

Bangladesh, Third and Fourth Periodic Reports, April 1997     

Bangladesh, Fifth Periodic Report, January 2003

Bhutan, Combined Initial, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Reports, July 2003

Cambodia, Combined Initial, Second and Third Periodic Reports, February 2004

China, Combined Third and Fourth Periodic Reports, June 1997    

China, Combined Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports, June 2004

Cook Islands, Initial Report, September 2006

Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Initial Report, September 2002

For more reports, please visit:


Papua New Guinea: Hopes PNG polls will boost female MPs (28-Jun-12) Continue

Mongolia: Can New Electoral Law Help Women Enter Parliament? (27-Jun-12) Continue

Rwanda: Ingabire's Opposition Party Torn in Two (26-Jun-12) Continue

Libya: National campaign to support women candidates (22-Jun-12) Continue

Bold Plans for Hard Problems in Second Term - Johnson Sirleaf (22-Jun-12) Continue

Pakistan: Women in Graft Cases Suggests Power, Not Gender, Is Key Factor (21-Jun-12) Continue

Burma: Women Should be Part of Peace Process (20-Jun-12) Continue

Afghanistan: A mother bravely campaigns for president (19-Jun-12) Continue

Norway: At long last, Suu Kyi delivers Nobel speech (16-Jun-12) Continue

Bhutan: Divided on the issue, members decide to debate (12-Jun-12) Continue

Guatemala: Indigenous Woman Becomes Governor (11-Jun-12) Continue

Egypt:  'Women need a champion in Election' (23-May-12) Continue

Afghanistan: President backs strict guidelines for women (06-Mar-12)  Continue

Myanmar: Ailing Suu Kyi curbs election campaign (26-Mar-12)  Continue

India: All-time high voting in UP, women set new record (04-Mar-12)  Continue

Pakistan: Harnessing local activism - the impact of Women Leader Groups (07-Mar-12) Continue

India: Mirabai eyes women empowerment (08-Mar-12)Continue

Russia: Olga Golovanova ’10 fights for democracy (08-Mar-12)  Continue

Iran: Elections Playbook Starts With Crackdown on Critics (10-Jan-12) Continue

Taiwan: Opposition accepts chair's resignation (17-Jan-12) Continue

Mauritius: Women Find a Political Voice, Locally (03-Jan-12) Continue

Guatemala: Women Pin Hopes on First-Ever Female Vice President (05-Jan-12)  Continue

Myanmar: Release, Ceasefire Hailed by Obama, Rights Groups (13-Jan-12) Continue

NGO To Support Women's Groups (22-May-07) Continue

Gender Issues Worsen Iraq's Medical Woes (25-May-09) Continue

Female MPs Should Shed Light on Issue of People with Special Needs
(23-May-09) Continue

Women Urge To Seize Their Moment in Politics (22-May-09) Continue

Women's Week in Politics
(21-May-09) Continue

Designing Women Now on DVD, Introduced Strong Southern Women (25-May-09)  Continue

Women MP's Told To Play Major Role in the Constitutional Process (29-April-09) Continue

Women Call For Truth Commission, Gender Equity (22-May-09) Continue


RESOURCE KIT on Women in Government: This kit, prepared by the Manila-based Center for Legislative Development, contains issue briefs on strategies for attaining gender balance; signature statement on 50/50; guide to launching a national campaign for 50/50 in government; and list of resource institutions on gender and governance in Asia and the Pacific. Download the resource kit.

BROCHURE: Women on political decision-making positions. This brochure contains facts and figures about the involvement of women in the decision-making processes in the institutions of the European Union as well as in national, regional, and local parliaments, committees and governments of the EU Member States and the EU economic area. Download the brochure.


CAPWIP at the International Conference on Gender and Disaster Reduction, Beijing, China

CAPWIP's Executive Director, Sylvia Ordonez, together with CAPWIP's Consultant, Ms. Lucita Lazo and CAPWIP's Program Officer, Atty. Lea Joaquin, attended the International Conference on Gender and Disaster Reduction held last April 20 to 22, 2009 at Jianguo Garden Hotel in Beijing, China. The activity was organized by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and the All-China Women's Federation and co-hosted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China.

More than 260 participants from 43 countries at the ministerial and parliamentary level, along with senior officials responsible for issues related to gender, disaster risk reduction, environment and development, participated in the conference.

Attendants reviewed the progress and challenges of mainstreaming gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction, discussing the issues of decision-making on disaster risk reduction, poverty alleviation, adaptation to climate change and community development.

The conference passed the Beijing Declaration for Action: a set of priorities calling for international cooperation in mainstreaming gender into disaster risk reduction, climate change and poverty alleviation; also greater participation by women in disaster relief work and disaster assistance for women equal to that for men.

The declaration is to be submitted to the international conference on disaster risk reduction in Geneva this June.

CAPWIP at the 53rd Session of the UNCSW

CAPWIP, in partnership with the Korean Women's NGO, hosted a Parallel Event on the topic "Gender Inequality vs. Sharing Responsibility in Asia" during the 53rd UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). The activity was held at the Church Center, UN Plaza New York City USA on March 4, 2009. Speakers in the said event were Dr. Jung Sook Kim, President of CAPWIP,  Hon. Lee Yun Sook, a former MP and Minister of Political Affairs, Republic of Korea, Dr. Joo Jun Hui, Chairperson of  the Women's Institute of Negotiation and Leadership, Dr. Min Hyunjoo, a Research Fellow from the Korean Women's Development Institute, Dr. Kay Fusano, President of the Japanese Association of University Women, Dr. Sorosh Roshan, President of the International Health Awareness Network, Dr. Carolyn Sobritchea, Professor at the University of the Philippines and Dr. Ferdous Ara Begum, Member of the UN CEDAW Committee. The activity was sponsored by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Republic of Korea.


Dr. Kim was also invited to speak on the panel on "Gender and Climate Change----An Action Agenda" which was held on March 3, 2009. Dr. Kim presented the Manila Declaration on Gender and Climate Change.  


CAPWIP's Executive Director Attended the Expert Group Meeting on Developing the Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) at Nairobi, Kenya

UN-Habitat invited CAPWIP's Executive Director, Sylvia M. Ordonez, to attend an Expert Group Meeting that will help develop the Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) for 2008 to 2018. The activity was held at the UN Complex Nairobi, Kenya from January 12-15, 2009.

The GEAP will guide UN-Habitat in strengthening gender equality and women's empowerment during the implementation of the six-year Medium Term Strategic and Institutional Plan or MTSIP from 2008 to 2018. It aims to reduce gender discrimination and promote equal opportunities and outcomes for women and men in human settlements development and foster the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals 3 and 7 on poverty reduction, gender equality and women's empowerment and environment sustainability.

The EGM provided experts and UN partners an opportunity to make inputs into and contribute to setting the priority areas for actions and defining the strategic direction for the GEAP.



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Updated: July 02, 2012