Political Parties Are the Ultimate Gatekeepers
This is true everywhere. Political parties are gatekeepers to political power and resources, and are overwhelmingly male dominated. It is critical to understand that party leaders make decisions about who the party will support as a candidate, how financial and other resources will be allocated, and what policies are a priority.
Embedded in the way political parties operate are structural barriers that make it harder for women to participate fully in all internal policymaking decisions and candidate selection, and incorporate the issues that women care about in political platforms.
Here are some specific questions you can ask of political leaders, elected officials, and their staff.
• What is the breakdown (by sex, race, and age) of members in your party leadership?
• Who is the highest-ranking woman in your political party?
• How many women are on your party’s decision-making body?
• What have you done to increase the number of women members in your party? The number of young women? The number of women of color?
• Do you have a code of conduct regarding the use of language on social and traditional media?
• How do you deal with party members or candidates who use sexist or racist language?
• Who is the highest-ranking woman on your staff?
• What policies do you champion that help women and/or girls?
• What policies do you or your party promote to reach gender equality?
• Do you provide training to women candidates, elected officials, and staff on how to engage with traditional and social media?
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