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Who We Are

Who We Are

The Women’s Democracy Network believes that a full and robust democracy depends on the equal participation of women.

Established by the International Republican Institute in 2006, WDN empowers women around the world to participate in the political process and equips them with the skills needed to assume greater leadership roles in government, political parties and civil society. WDN connects aspiring and accomplished women leaders across the globe, creates forums for sharing ideas and experiences, and provides technical training and resource materials.

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We have members in more than 80 countries in every region of the world.

Our local partners include 14 country chapters in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. We also supported the development of two regional networks—the Arab Women's Leadership Institute (AWLI) and WDN Latin America Caribbean (WDN-LAC).

Our partners are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and are committed to advancing women’s leadership in their countries. Our members are vital to ensuring the long-term impact of our programming.



The WDN Advisory Council is made up of over 25 accomplished women leaders from various sectors who serve as mentors and experts for WDN partners and programs.

Mrs. Cindy McCain serves as the Honorary Chairman of the Advisory Council. 

Our council is composed of women leaders who have distinguished themselves in the world of politics, business and more. We thank our WDN Advisory Council members for supporting our mission to advance women’s political and civic participation across the globe.

valerie dowling

Valerie Dowling

Valerie Dowling has worked in the political process from grassroots campaigns to the White House.

In January 2016, she joined the International Republican Institute as Director of the Women’s Democracy Network where she will continue to work to increase women’s political participation, leadership and representation in elected office globally. In her previous role, Valerie worked at the Republican National Committee in the Office of the Co-Chairman as the Director of Women's Engagement and was focused on creating programming to engage more women in the Republican Party.

Previously, she served as the Pennsylvania Coalitions Director with the Romney for President Campaign where she directed community outreach and volunteer engagement. Valerie also served as the Political Director for the National Federation of Republican Women where she developed and managed their national political programming.

Prior to this position, Valerie worked in the Bush Administration in Mrs. Bush’s Projects and Policy Office, Presidential Correspondence and Intergovernmental Affairs. Valerie has worked on several state and federal campaigns in the state of South Carolina. She is a proud graduate of Converse College.