Democracy remains out of reach without the voices, participation, and equal rights of women. Progress has been made around the world in recent decades with more awareness about gender equality, increasing political participation, and additional laws protecting equal rights in a growing number of countries. Yet many women and girls around the world still face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. Women continue to experience barriers to quality education and healthcare, to be sidelined from decision-making, and paid less, while facing increased risk of sexism and gender-based violence.
“Gender equality and women’s participation is fundamental to human rights and democracy, and this is an important priority of Endowment support,” says Lynn Lee, associate director for the Asia program at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and co-chair of NED’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. “We see democratic institutions and processes improved and strengthened when women are empowered for meaningful participation in decision-making bodies and when sharing equitable representation in the leadership of politics, economy, and civil society.”
NED supports freedom, equality, and dignity for all people—including women and girls—in the world’s most challenging places. This past year, NED awarded 45 million dollars to 250 projects in 70 countries working to support gender equality or benefit women—to protect equal rights; support active participation and inclusion of women in all aspects of public life, strengthen political processes, institutions, and laws; and advance democratic values.