Women’s Parties Win Change, If Not Votes

A Surprising Record of Power Beyond the Ballot Box

A Women’s Equality Party fundraiser in London, January 2016 Fiona Hanson / eyevine / Redux

On January 14, 2020, a new political party, Voices of Women, announced an all-female slate for Israel’s parliamentary elections in March. Israel’s political scene is notoriously male dominated. Women’s representation has declined even since 2015, and the three largest parties each list only two women among their top ten candidates for the upcoming election. And yet Voices of Women is no anomaly. The group is actually the country’s ninth women’s political party and one of more than 100 to have emerged in 60 countries in the past century, including in India, Turkey, South Africa, Myanmar, Japan, and Poland.

Most women’s parties earn less than four percent of the vote and last just two or three electoral cycles before disbanding. Israel’s women’s parties have elected only a handful of deputies. The Women’s Equality Party in the United Kingdom and the parties called Feminist Initiative (or F!) in

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