In most countries, women appear to have equal rights as men, but are in reality severely underrepresented in governing bodies and influential positions. This prevents participation in decision-making processes that have great significance for women's capacity and ability to make independent decisions regarding their own lives.
Economic structures and policies affect women's and men's access to resources and power, and hence the degree of equality between the sexes in society. Unfortunately, the case is that there is no gender and equality perspective in policies and institutions. When women do not participate where the decisions are taken, they cannot change existing differences. There is often a large gap between governments and authorities expressed obligations and their political priorities. Likewise, financial budgets and legal frameworks are often formulated in such a way that they ignore the social and culturally specific roles, responsibilities and opportunities for men and women.
On a global level, approximately 2.7 billion people have only two dollars per day to live on. Causes of poverty are varied and complex, but are most definitely a political question. Politics and poverty is not just about economic growth but also on governance, distribution, employment, appreciation of labour and the legal framework that gives people the opportunity to support themselves and their families. Since women in many developing countries do not have access to political and public arenas where such political decisions are made, women also bear a disproportionate burden of poverty. In a time of global economic and financial crisis, women are hit especially hard because the discrimination from political participation means that they lose their share of jobs, social benefits and labor rights. The gender of poverty is amplified by gender-segregated labour markets, female over-representation in the informal sector and unpaid care work.
Access to property and land is important for social security and is a possible instrument for creating economic growth and reducing poverty, which is beneficial to everyone. Therefore, we need women to participate in political decision-making processes which allow them to influence the distribution of power and decisions that affect environmental and resource management, in addition to more personal questions about health, sexual and reproductive rights.
Women's equal participation, both politically and economically, plays an important role in the overall process of promoting women. Further, a woman's role as a political figure is not only a normative question of fairness, but a necessary condition for the goals of equality, development and peace to be achieved.