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Gender Partnership: what the IPU is doing

In September 1997, in Cairo, the IPU Council adopted the Universal Declaration on Democracy and urged Governments and Parliaments throughout the world to be guided by its content.

The opening section of the Declaration, entitled "The Principles of Democracy", states:

"The achievement of democracy presupposes a genuine partnership between men and women in the conduct of the affairs of society in which they work in equality and complementarity, drawing mutual enrichment from their differences."
Already in April 1992, in Yaoundé, the IPU Council had stated:
"The concept of democracy will only assume true and dynamic significance when political policies and national legislation are decided upon jointly by men and women with equitable regard for the interests and aptitudes of both halves of the population."
Again, when summarising in the New Delhi Declaration the outcome of IPU's Specialised Conference "Towards Partnership Between Men and Women in Politics" (New Delhi, February 1997), the Conference President stated:
"As politics is deeply rooted in society and reflects dominant values, our discussions highlighted clearly that developing a partnership in politics necessarily depends on the degree of partnership as a social mode in general. This is undoubtedly why the Inter-Parliamentary Union asserts that what has to be developed, in modern democratic societies, is nothing less than a new social contract in which men and women work in equality and complementarity, enriching each other mutually from their differences. (...) What is basically at stake is democracy itself."

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