Małgorzata Borkowska and Ewa Stoecker are members of Towarzystwo Edukacji Antydyskryminacyjnej (the Anti-discrimination Education Association), which was founded in 2009 by people involved in anti-discrimination education. The Association brings together those who specialize in this area, including, among others, women and men who are anti-discrimination trainers, initiators of equality and diversity projects, members of organizations supporting groups threatened with discrimination.
Women for Election have come together with BRAND-SOFI (Finland), Forum 50% (Czech Republic), Towarzystwo Edukacji Antydyskryminacyjnej (TEA – Poland), Active Women Association (Poland), and Vote Run Lead (USA) to take part in the GEPLE Project (Gender Equality Political Leadership Education). This collaborative project was established in October 2015 with support from ERASMUS+ and aims to share knowledge with each other and create best practice for achieving the goal of gender parity in politics.
So far the partners have met twice, once in Prague in February and again in May in Dublin. During the course of the trips the group engages in workshops and presentations to share learnings on topics from creating media awareness to discussing the individual barriers to equal representation in each member’s country.
Alongside the workshops, the meetings bring together research gathered by the partners which will be used in the creation of an online platform. This platform will allow for exchange of information and cooperation between the partners as well as transfer of knowledge for those whom the project’s findings would be beneficial. The aim is to create a resource hub that would help all those seeking to promote equal representation of women and men in politic life across all nations, and it will contain, amongst other elements, a research database, shared learning videos, interactive research development, blog posts on relevant issues, and discussion forums.
Over the course of three days in Dublin we worked on developing effective communications strategies to increase the reach of each group’s campaigns, learning to navigate the media landscape, and developing effective fundraising. Deirdre Mortell and Niamh Gallagher ran workshops with the participants on fundraising, finding what methods could be adapted to each country. Clare Duignan and Kay Sheehy (RTE) discussed how best to approach media outlets, engage in public debates, and develop a clear message. Suzanne Collins presented on Women for Election’s communication strategy; what targets we set, and how we achieved them.
The project partners were also introduced to various aspects of the Irish political and representative system. On the first evening the group went on a tour of Leinster House, followed by a wonderful dinner hosted by Deputy Josepha Madigan, which was attended by Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin and Senator Alice Mary Higgins. The second evening the group attended a reception in Europe House, which the European Commission Representation to Ireland kindly hosted. We were joined by representatives of each partner organisation’s embassies. The Head of Representation in Ireland for the EU Commission, Barbara Nolan, addressed those in attendance, speaking on the necessity for balanced gender representation in public life.
The three days were extremely productive and we look forward to working on this project further with our partners. The next leg of the tour takes place in the United States this September and will be run by the fantastic Vote Run Lead organisation.
Women for Election are delighted to join Vote Run Lead, Towarzystwo Edukacji Antydyskryminacyjnej, Forum 50%, Brand-Sofi and Stowarzyszenie Aktywne Kobiety for this project.
From the 17th to the 19th of May 2016 our GEPLE Project partners came together for a series of workshops and study sessions. Sofia Donner was representing our project partner Brand-Sofi as well as the Finnish Women’s Association during the three days. Watch this video to see what she took away from the experience, and what she feels are the next steps for gender equality in the political life of her home country Finland.