The first International Women’s Day was observed in 1911, three years after 15,000 women marched through New York City, calling for voting rights and other demands.
On International Women’s Day (March 8) and every day, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) celebrates and supports gender equality for a more democratic, peaceful, and prosperous world.
For more than three decades, the IFES has supported equal rights, participation, and justice for everyone in political and civic life. We work to ensure our programming benefits a diversity of women, keeping in mind that race, gender identity, ethnicity, age, disability status, sexual orientation, and other factors can contribute to additional marginalization. We support current and future women leaders, encourage and assist male champions of women’s rights and address barriers to women’s political participation. IFES is proud to support our partners around the world who are working tirelessly to shift attitudes and practices that perpetuate inequality and discrimination against women in public and private life.
In commemoration of International Women's Day, we invite you to learn more about how IFES and our partners support people worldwide to:
Support Women to Take on Leadership Roles in Politics
IFES has worked throughout the year with its local partner Fundación Esquel Ecuador to promote gender parity in Ecuadorian politics by providing training for aspiring women leaders, particularly with Indigenous women.
In November 2022, the Women in Electoral Management International network (WEM-International) was re-established, representing the only specialized global association of election management bodies (EMBs) working specifically to advance gender equality and boost equal representation of women in EMBs. The goal of the network is to provide peer-to-peer support for elections management professionals in integrating gender equality across all electoral activities and programs.
Prevent Gender-based Violence in Elections
Using IFES’s Violence Against Women in Elections (VAWE) assessment methodology, IFES conducted research in the Pacific Islands region to better understand the link between gender-based violence and women’s ability to exercise their political rights. Our findings highlight the far-reaching consequences that decades of political violence and gender-based violence have had on the women of the Pacific Islands and their ability to be part of decision-making processes that affect their everyday lives.
Senior Global Gender Advisor Regina Waugh published a piece analyzing key elections in 2022 and how the relationship between gender-based violence and elections must not be ignored in order to promote safe and inclusive political participation.
Combat Gender Inequality through Evidence-Based Research and Analysis
To help inform stakeholders’ efforts to sustainably promote women’s political leadership and participation in Sri Lanka, IFES published Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka: Electoral System Analysis and Recommendations, which analyzes the current standing of women’s representation and the main reasons behind the underrepresentation of women in politics, and offers recommendations for how to address the underlying and persistent barriers.
IFES also developed an analysis of women’s political participation in North Macedonia, focusing on gender equality in the context of the 2021 elections.
IFES Staff Celebrates International Women's Day 2023
To celebrate #InternationalWomensDay, IFES joins the global #EmbraceEquity campaign that demands gender equity as a prerequisite for democracy, peace, and security. Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there through the process of equity, we can reach equality. Throughout the month of March, @IFES1987 will feature our own women staff members who work around the world to support our mission to build resilient democracies for all across our social media channels.