Raising Her Voice

Empowering women to engage effectively in governance

From Participation to Power: Making Women’s Voices Count - RHV presentation overview + video link

RHV presentation delivered May 17th 1-2pm as part of the Governance and Transparency Fund public meeting series: ‘Demanding accountability from the bottom up’: examining what works, what does not work, and why.’


View here: 


(Approximate timings for each speaker have been included in the summary below)


“The neo-liberal rules for the new woman citizen... are quite clear: improve your household’s economic condition, participate in local community development (if you have time), help build and run local (apolitical) institutions like the self-help group; by then, you should have no political or physical energy left to challenge this paradigm.” Srilatha Batliwala and Deepa Dhanraj (2004:13) in “Gender myths that instrumentalise women: a view from the Indian front-line.

As media celebration of women’s role in the ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions clearly demonstrates, there is growing interest in the value of women’s participation in the shaping and reshaping of governance systems and processes. But when the ‘real decisions’ start to be made – from household to district, national to international – women disappear. What needs to change to ensure that women’s voices really count?

Much can be learned from organisations and movements around the world about how the complex barriers that systematically exclude women can be overcome. Countless innovative ways are being found that give women real power and influence in the governance spaces that shape their lives.  What can donors and NGOs learn from these experiences? How can we better support women to speak out persuasively and politically, individually and collectively, in the right places and to the right people to gain a lasting and meaningful voice in the halls and corridors of power?


00:00 Introduction – global trends and who’s got the power to set the debate?

Duncan Green, Head of Research, Oxfam


4:50 Presentation 1 

Its all about the power, stupid!: Understanding power, going beyond numbers and learning from the IDS ‘Pathways to Women’s Empowerment’ research

Jethro Pettit, Senior Research Fellow IDS.


Mentioned links:




20:20 Raising Her Voice Nepal video https://raisinghervoice.ning.com/video/changing-perceptions-and


24:30 Presentation 2

Raising Her Voice: Learning from global programme experiences of working in the personal, social and political spheres to promote women’s ability to meaningfully influence decision-making. Practical lessons for practitioners and donors.

Jo Rowlands Senior Governance Advisor, Oxfam.


Relevant links:

Raising Her Voice Mid-Term Evaluation Summary

For more videos, blogs and case studies visit http://www.raisingervoice.ning.com/ 


43:30 Discussant

Reflections from Honduras and evolving post-coup social activisms and the need for new political energy for the global women’s movement.

Marilyn Thompson, Central American Women’s Network


Relevant links:

CAWN intersecting violence toolkit


100:00:00 Questions and Comments:

The care economy and women’s participation and leadership; Challenging government resistance to legal reform; Supporting resilience in accountability and governance programming;  Political, economic and religious backlashes against women’s ability to participate in decision-making; Supporting women’s organisations and movements to create, claim and transform spaces.

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