On 14 January 2014 the closing ceremony of the VII course on Women Leadership was held in the municipality of Antiguo Cuscatlan, in El Salvador. This post-graduate course on participation and leadership of women in politics was organized by the Association of Parliamentarians and Former Parliamentarians of El Salvador (ASPARLEXAL) in coordination with the Business Foundation for Educational Development (FEPADE), the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and Cordaid. The event was chaired by representatives of the Board of ASPARLEXAL, the Ambassador of Canada in El Salvador and representatives of NIMD, Cordaid and FEPADE.
The objective of the course was to promote the political participation of women in El Salvador, by developing personal and political abilities. In total, 44 women graduated, most of them young leaders and active members of nine political parties, including the five parties with representation in congress of El Salvador. Through four months (September-December 2013) of lectures, exchanges and group work sessions, the participants practiced and further developed their personal and political abilities. Specifically, these activities provided participants the training, information, and confidence to overcome gender barriers. In addition they acquired skills to propose and advocate for policy and legislation with a gender focus.
The political arena in El Salvador is still predominantly male; only 11% of positions in municipalities are held by women and only 19% of the members of parliament are women. Currently, there are some new initiatives to encourage a greater participation of women in the political sphere, such as the new law which establishes a minimum quota of 30% women candidates for all deputies and municipal councilor elections.
In 2013 NIMD established an office in El Salvador to promote interparty dialogue, strengthen the organizational and programmatic development of political parties and support the inclusion of groups currently underrepresented in politics, especially women and youth. Together with Cordaid the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy also strengthens the conflict resolution capacity of women in line with UN resolution 1325 and facilitates dialogue between political and civil society on environmental security.
For more information on political inclusion of women or on the NIMD programme in El Salvador, please contact Heleen Schrooyen at: email@example.com