Shadow councils are established to strengthen women’s political and social role by increasing women's awareness of their rights and roles on the basis of equality. Shadow councils are a pioneering idea which is based on the integration of women into structures and bodies to monitor policies and practices of local councils and influencing the perception of the local community towards supporting women’s political activism. Its importance lies in its work to support the elected members of local councils by informing them of their rights to political and community participation and to support them in running for elections, and to produce young women leaders who are qualified for political participation at all levels.
Shadow councils are a cutting-edge strategy by PWWSD to build women’s leadership and other capacities. These are councils that act as community mechanisms to mainstream women’s involvement in local government and in their communities through training and mentoring sessions. These shadow councils were formed to empower women to participate in politics, advocate for gender-sensitive policies, and make effective decisions that influence local communities and promote their steadfastness.
Shadow councils comprise women and young women in rural areas that are mostly affected by the colonial militarized structure. Those villages are located in 7 governorates of the West Bank: Ramallah, Salfit, Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarim and Jenin , in addition to two locations in Gaza.
The shadow councils are established through elections, whereas each council consisting of 5-9 women and young women is elected. Shadow councils are based on voluntary work which increases the demand for the realization of women’s rights and carving out active roles for women in the region first and foremost through challenging family and community mindsets and social norms in order to thoroughly support women’s empowerment. The Shadow Council aims for a number of goals, including: Supporting female members of local bodies' councils, preparing young leaders to engage in elections and decision-making processes that affect the lives of the communities, and for the council to be able to enforce societal accountability for local bodies and the rest of the responsible authorities.
Shadow councils play mediating role between village women and local councils, formulate annual plans, and carry out a number of activities regarding the advancement of women’s political rights, as well as social, health and cultural activities. Female shadow council members are entitled to attend the local councils’ meetings as any member of the community.