“For every 5% increase of women’s political representation in parliament, their country is five times less likely to engage in conflict when faced with international crisis. I am driven because I really want our world to be better, and for humanity to evolve.”
Tanya Henderson is the Founder and Executive Director of Mina’s List. Mina’s List’s goal is to increase women’s equal and substantive political representation where women’s rights are the most marginalized. As a political training organization, Mina’s List works with women who are already functioning as civil society leaders to enable them to operate as political leaders.
What kind of work does Mina’s List do?
We partner with women’s rights and peace organizations in a country, then forge relationships between civil society groups and female parliamentarians who are advancing a human rights agenda. Then, we hold listening sessions with both groups to identify barriers to women’s political representation in their country. Once these barriers are identified, we help train aspiring female political leaders with empowerment workshops, on how to circumvent these obstacles to allow them to get elected and advance a human rights agenda. These women create a plan, which Mina’s List helps implement resources for. The Parliamentarians will then provide mentorship for aspiring candidates through a two-year program to provide support, publicly endorse them, and help create a peace and security agenda.
What drives you?
Everything. Our world. When I started doing research, I realized that when there is a tipping point in women’s representation in Parliaments, that economic development, social development, and human rights drastically improve. When women are in power, they are advancing human goals and peace more effectively.
What is your biggest barrier in the countries you work in?
It varies from country to country and region to region. Right now, we are working in Nigeria where the biggest barrier is definitely funding and political parties. The power structures of the party system prevent women from entering the party to then compete for public votes. There is a huge cultural barrier preventing women from moving up in the political system.
How can people support your work?
Donate! Funding is always hard. We are developing a new program where women candidates can run entire campaigns from their phones, including their fundraising. This means that a woman who can’t raise money from their local conservative constituency can raise money through this online platform. It is a blockchain technology so we can eliminate security concerns. This mobile app will allow competing female candidates to circumvent all traditional power circles from immediate constituencies to be supported by women from other parts of her country and around the world.
Visit Mina’s List’s website to learn more about their work!