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The inclusion of women, youth and marginalized groups in political processes and institutions is key to ensure proper representation and to meet the expectations of the constituencies. As a broader range of citizens take part in the political process, institutions become more responsive to the needs of all citizens. Expanding women’s political participation leads to tangible gains for democratic governance. Yet, discriminatory laws and practices hold women back, as do limits on education, income and time away from caregiving. While women have made inroads in many areas, at the current pace of change, we won’t see gender parity in governments, parliaments or peace tables until the next century.

In this digest we briefly set out the key arguments for the importance of women’s representation in democracies. We then reflect on the results and key points from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/ French National Assembly (FNA) seminar for French speaking women MPs held in Paris during the week of September 22nd, 2014.

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