Publication | Report/Paper

Political Finance and Gender Equality

Throughout the world, women and men have different opportunities to participate in the political sphere. This is particularly true when it comes to participation as candidates and elected officials in electoral processes. There are many factors that contribute to existing gender inequalities in politics. While political finance is an important instrument for achieving gender equality in politics, the ongoing debates about political finance rarely consider the impact of money on the level of representation of both men and women in elected offices.

IFES' latest publication, Political Finance and Gender Equality, has been developed on the premise that there is an important connection between political finance and gender equality that has not been explored in-depth. Discussions regarding political finance should take into account the issue of gender, particularly in consideration of the challenges that prospective women candidates face with regard to the role of money. This white paper attempts to take initial steps to examine the relationship between these two important issues.

After an examination of political finance regulation and its impact on the chances of women and men to effectively run for elected office, the paper reviews the effect of varying electoral systems on gender equality in politics and political finance. Finally, this white paper discusses a recent pilot project in the Middle East and North Africa. A series of interviews with women candidates informed the work of multi-stakeholder working groups in Tunisia and Yemen, and these working groups provided recommendations for reform in their respective countries.