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On 6 November, the British Embassy in Kinshasa, in association with the NGO International Alert, hosted a delegation of women from North and South Kivu to discuss women and citizenship.
The delegation included members of the North Kivu provincial parliament and eastern DRC non-governmental organisations. The delegation is in Kinshasa to hold meetings with key policymakers, embassies and institutions as part of their work to strengthen women’s political participation.
In DRC, women make up only 9.4% of parliamentarians and the number of female candidates running for parliament decreased from 13.8% in 2006 to 12.1% in 2011. The Congolese government currently has 6 women out of 37 ministers and vice-ministers.
In his speech of 23 October 2013, President Kabila acknowledged that women’s political representation was not high enough and encouraged parliamentarians to address the situation.
The lively discussions with the delegation covered the obstacles to and opportunities for women’s political participation in DRC, and shared experiences and lessons learnt.
The UK is currently funding (through the NGO TROCAIRE ) the “Increasing Women’s Participation and Voice in DRC’s Political Processes” programme. The programme aims to address the problem of marginalisation and exclusion of women.