Europe and CIS Regional BRIDGE Workshop on Gender and Elections

9 March 2012

On 13 – 17 February 2012, UNDP’s Global Programme for Electoral Cycle Support (GPECS) organized 2 BRIDGE workshops on Gender and Elections that aimed to build knowledge and introduce practical tools to mainstream gender into electoral administration and programming for EMB and UNDP representatives from Europe and CIS region.

Overall 35 EMB and UNDP representatives from 12 countries attended the workshops organized in two parallel Russian and English sessions. Skye Christensen and Arpine Galfayan ran the workshops as lead facilitators. Workshop facilitators, Aleida Ferreira (UNDP), Julie Ballington (UNDP), and Corneliu Pasat (EMB/ Moldova) co-facilitated the sessions together with 3 semi-accredited facilitators, Nino Goguadze (EMB/Georgia), Maia Jorjikia (IFES/Georgia) and Vahagn Muradyan (UNDP), who received full accreditation at the end of the workshop. Expanding the regional pool of BRIDGE accredited facilitators has been one of the key objectives of UNDP/GPECS programme and the two workshops in Georgia were a direct follow-up on the request to institutionalize BRIDGE in the ECIS region made by the participants of Train the Facilitator BRIDGE workshop in Budapest, Hungary (November-December 2011).

The Chair of Georgian Central Electoral Commission Mr. Zurab Kharatishvili, UNDP/GPECS Electoral Policy Specialist, Ms Aleida Ferreyra, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, and the IFES Chief of Party Mr. Nermin Nisic opened the workshop on 13 February 2017 with a joint session attended by all participants.

The workshop agenda was tailored to raise participants’ awareness of gender aspects in electoral administration and programming and concentrated on electoral systems and their impact on women’s participation; temporary special measures (quotas) and their implementation, gender mainstreaming in EMBs, as well as constraints and opportunities faced by women candidates within political party structures.

In evaluations, participants emphasized the novelty of the topic and a lack of awareness regarding the complexity and depth of obstacles surrounding women’s electoral participation as voters and candidates. They also showed appreciation of the BRIDGE methodology that combines theory and practice through active learning and team work, and indicated interest to promote gender-sensitive policies in their respective EMBs by using the new analytical tools.

Overall, the sessions provided with many opportunities to engage in lively debates and discussions on promoting women’s electoral participation as voters and candidates, to share experiences and exchange views, as well as identify new topics for future BRIDGE workshops in the Europe and CIS region.

Skye Christensen, BRIDGE facilitator

Arpine Galfayan, BRIDGE Facilitator

Vahagn Muradyan, UNDP/GPECS

21 February, 2012

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