The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies had participated as a partner in the Training Course entitled “Empowerment of Young Women in Politics Through Mentoring Programmes”, organized from 5th to 12th September 2004 at Protaras in Cyprus. The project was supported by the European Commission through the YOUTH Programme.

The project was coordinated by the National Youth Organisation for International Cooperation in collaboration with the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies and the Cyprus Intercultural Center.

Aims and Objectives

The general aim of the Training Course was twofold: a) to introduce mentoring programmes as an effective and innovative method for empowerment of young women to political and public life in more European countries, b) to provide the participants with the European knowledge, experience and expertise on the establishment and coordination of mentoring programmes for empowerment of young women in political and public life.

The immediate objectives of the project were the following:

  1. To raise awareness among the participants on the concept of “mentoring” and the importance of mentoring programmes in supporting, empowering and promoting young women in political and public life;
  2. To establish Gender awareness among the participants;
  3. To train 25 youth workers and youth leaders to prepare and run a mentoring programme in their countries;

    To provide participants with the European knowledge, expertise and know-how in coordinating mentoring programmes;

    To promote the establishment of mentoring programmes in more European countries;

  4. To provide an environment where young people can exchange information about their organisations and activities and discuss issues of common interest;
  5. To establish networks among European organizations involved in youth work and empowerment of young people;

    To initiate innovative projects on the concept of mentoring and empowerment of young women;

  6. To promote multi-cultural learning through the proposed activities and raise the interest of participants for other cultures, traditions and customs;
  7. To motivate and enable participants to share their acquired knowledge and experience with members of their organisations and other young people.

Importance of Mentoring programmes

Empowerment of young women in politics is considered a difficult mission given the cultural and social attitudes and behaviours towards the role of women in a society. Apart from a few countries, where the proportion of women actively involved in politics is high, women are discouraged from participating in the higher levels of public and political life. The small number of women in key positions in every European country represents a great need to promote young women as a way of attaining equality between men and women in the higher levels of decision-making in a country. The need for increasing the number of women in decision-making and the inclusion of women’s perspective in the policies and programmes of a government appears to be necessary and of great importance.

Throughout the years, a number of methods have been introduced as tools to promote and empower young women not only in politics but also in the various sectors of life. Mentoring in general is understood as “a strategy to develop the whole/complete personality of a young person. In other words is a way of empowerment of young people”. Mentoring is based on the relation between a mentor and a mentee. The mentor is an older person with knowledge and experience who accompanies and supports a young person, the mentee, who wants to develop his/her personality and capacities. Mentoring, however, even though it is not a new concept, it is considered as a new method to promote young women, as it was mostly used in the past in the male world: young men were supported by older, more experienced men during their education, career and social life.