BRIDGE supports women’s political participation in Peru

13 December 2009

One of these was a week-long course titled “Towards the strengthening of equal opportunities for political participation in Peru”, held in Lima from 5 – 9 October. The course came as the last stage of a three-month long capacity-development program organized by the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (National Electoral Tribunal) and the Peruvian Ministry for Women and Social Development, for the benefit of Peruvian political parties, regional political movements and civil society organizations. The workshop was held with the technical support of International IDEA and funding from the AECID (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development) and the two organizing institutions.

All 30 participants to this course were Peruvian and had been selected on the basis of their outstanding performance during the e-learning phase of this capacity development programme. They belonged to 13 different political parties represented, 12 regional movements (different status than political parties but running as well in sub-national elections) and 4 CSOs.

The Workshop was facilitated by a team of five: Nicolas Garrigue (IDEA Consultant), as lead facilitator, Carlos Coronel (Colombia) & Alexandra Pravatiner (JNE, Peru), as Workshop Facilitators, and two semi-accredited Peruvian facilitators: Virgilio Hurtado Cruz and Miriam Isabel Pena Niño, also from the JNE. Both of them received their full accreditation during this 5-day event. This brings the total number of Peruvian facilitators to 4 and Spanish-speaking facilitators to 15 individuals.

The workshop’s focused on analyzing the supply and demand aspects of women’s participation in the political life of Peru. How can women participate and why does democracy needs more participation of women? The two facets of political participation, as simple citizens and as elections candidates, were looked at. Barriers to participation in both situations were listed and explained. Although Peru is one of the most progressive countries in Latin America when it comes to women’s political representation, it’s still a mere 23% of elected offices that are held by women, while the women’s quota legislation sets the objective at 30% . For example, only 3% of the country’s mayors are women. Since voting is compulsory in Peru (like in Australia), the turnout rate among registered women is high (83%) but the issue lies with the rate of registration which is said to be very low in certain remote & indigenous areas.

Participants devised strategies to motivate women’s civic & political participation through civic education campaigns and to facilitate women’s access to political candidacies through the adoption of affirmative action policies inside parties, especially regarding the making of candidates lists. On the end of the workshop, participants finalized project proposals to support specific action plans supporting a higher equality of opportunities for political participation for women in the Peruvian society. Participants showed a high level of motivation to learn and practice, and were enthusiastic about the BRIDGE training methodology. Many asked for a TtF to be conducted soon so that they can replicate the Modules among their party affiliates. For a first workshop targeting non-EMB participants and tackling issues beyond electoral processes, this workshop opened the way to a wider expansion of BRIDGE on the Latin American continent.

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