Planet 50-50: Women’s leadership in politics and beyond

Best Practice Network joined Womankind Worldwide supporters and activists at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate International Woman’s Day and to look ahead and #PledgeForParity, for equal gender representation – Planet 50-50.

A key learning tool on display was Suffragette Roulette, where scenarios from both developed and developing countries highlighted the struggle faced by all women who want to have their say, as well as the work Womankind Worldwide are doing to support, guide and facilitate opportunities. Have a go online and let us know how you get on. If you would like Suffragette Roulette to visit your school, please email Rosey Ellum.

Best Practice Network was invited to the event because of the financial support we gave as part of the Big Give in December. Womankind Worldwide have developed a partnership model – working closely with women’s rights organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America to deliver change on the ground that is effective, ethical, and sustainable. Since the charity was founded in 1989, it has transformed the lives of 18 million women and girls, their families and communities by working with local partners to develop solutions to stop violence against women and end inequality.

Sandip Verma told us an inspiring story of her visit to her birthplace in India, an area where some parents choose to abort a baby just because she is a girl. Sandip, as a recently appointed Peer, reflected on where her life had begun and where she had taken it. Emma Howard Boyd spoke about the schoolroom to boardroom approach that the 30% Club has taken by partnering with, getting business leaders into state schools to encourage all young people – and especially young women – to be the next generation to take the lead. Last, but by no means least, Sakhile Sifelani – Executive Director of Women in Politics support Unit (WIPSU), Zimbabwe – provided an insight into the work that Womankind Worldwide are doing every day. Hands-on initiatives that have given women the skills they need to take on leadership roles, discussing what an individual needs and how the charity can make a difference. Sakhile spoke passionately about how in the twenty-first century, for some women, it is still an extraordinary thing to walk into a public space, but that this is changing.

The Planet 50-50 celebration made me consider how fortunate I am to live in a country and a time when gender equality is a question we are constantly posing and trying to answer. I have taken for granted so many opportunities that women all over the world are still fighting for. In their 28th year Womankind Worldwide are highlighting the work that still needs to be done to create cultural, social, economic and political balance. Education is certainly one of the best places to start.

Beth Collins
Recruitment & Support Co-ordinator

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