Women Learning Partnership’s latest publication, Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for Women, was developed to empower women to become democratic and participatory leaders. Whether the goal is to be elected to office, support a campaign, encourage women to vote, or secure better legislation for the community, this handbook helps women hone their skills to take the next political step.

Leading to Action is designed for use as a learning tool by those who are challenging themselves to play a more significant political role in their communities. Women’s participation is a critical step towards reshaping economic, political, and social conditions to allow for equality in opportunities and results for both women and men. WLP’s latest publication was developed to empower women to become democratic and participatory leaders. Whether the goal is to be elected to office, support a campaign, encourage women to vote, or secure better legislation for the community, this handbook helps women hone their skills to take the next political step. Scenarios are based on criteria set by our partners and give real life examples of successes and challenges women face in the political sphere. The appendices include a glossary of terms, extra sessions, and relevant United Nations conventions that support women’s civil and political rights.

Leading to Action is structured to be used in a workshop setting, and can be easily modified by those who use it. The sessions presented are guidelines only, changeable and adaptable for the communities in which they are used. For instance, the biographies of influential people and stories about successful campaigns are only illustrative starting points for discussion, and can be substituted with biographies and stories more relevant or familiar in each setting.

Leading to Action can be used independently, but it shares the same values and learning framework as other WLP training materials. The political participation strategies emphasize communicating, listening, building consensus, creating shared meaning, and developing learning partnerships. These techniques create democratic, inclusive processes, and political participation strategies that are both ethical in their means as well as their ends. Just as there is no one path to political activism, there is no single approach to learning political participation skills. In Leading to Action, in addition to the political participation strategies, the learning process is itself intended to empower workshop facilitators and participants.

Table of Contents (excerpt)

  • Who We Are
  • Essentials of Political Participation
  • Guidelines for Facilitators
  • Workshop Section I: Politics and Power: Where Do I Fit In?
    • Session 1: Imagining a Better World
    • Session 2: Ethical Politics
    • Session 3: Where Do I Fit In?
  • Workshop Section II: Leading To Action: What Are My Next Steps?
    • Session 4: Identifying our Political Issue and Developing Our Message
    • Session 5: Mapping the Political Scene
    • Session 6: Core Constituency Building
    • Session 7: Networking and Coalition Building
    • Session 8: Getting the Word Out: Personal Communication Techniques
    • Session 9: Negotiation/Compromise/Non-Negotiables
    • Session 10: Measuring Success/Building on Experience
  • Workshop Evaluation Form
  • Appendices

Leading to Action in Arabic, English, French, and Persian can be downloaded here. Click here for additional resources from WLP, IWDN’s Secretariat.

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