FSM BRIDGE Gender and Elections Workshop

8 September 2009

The sub-regional workshop is the outcome of previous and ongoing consultation between UNIFEM GEPG and Governments, women’s organizations, civil society, other UN agencies and donor partners for collaboration in empowering stakeholders towards advancing gender equality in political governance in the Northern Pacific countries; as well as supporting the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).


The workshop brought together about 40 participants (35 women and 5 men) from the Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau and the participating States (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae & Yap) from within Federated States of Micronesia; including Senator Magdalena Walter and Chief Justice Antonia Amor who are both from Pohnpei and Imaikta Betty – of WUTMI (Women United Together Marshall Islands) and Council woman/member for RMI. Amongst all other important participants in influential positions to effect change in the 3 respective countries were:


  • Mr. Wilbur Heine – Secretary to Ministry of Internal Affairs responsible for Elections
  • Ms Wisse Amram – Director of Women Training and Marketing/Information Center


  • Renay Robert – Office of the President
  • Atonina Techur of the National Congress
  • Linda Temol of the House of Delegates
  • Shelly Termeteet of Koror State Legislature
  • Mr. Avery Midas – Palau Election Commission


  • Jane Elymore, Department of Health and Social Affairs
  • Mr. Jackson Soram – Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Jane Chigiyal – Deputy Secretary and of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Co-Chair of the for the National Women Advisory Council
  • Josephine Giltug – Yap State Government Women’s Interest Officer, Department of Youth and Civic Affairs
  • Yap Assistant Legal Counsel, Genevieve Mireg Mangefel
  • Christina Kiki Stinnett – President of Chuuk Women Advisory Council Augustina Takashy –Gender NGO Affairs Advisor and FSM Women in Politics Project Manager



Resource Persons

The resource persons were from Niue, Palau and Fiji and included:UNIFEM GEPG Regional Office – Suva Fiji

  • Jeannette Bolenga – Deputy RPM and Lead BRIDGE Facilitator
  • Laisani Komairasea – Regional Administrative Assistant University of the south Pacific – USP
  • Hamidan Bibi – Coordinator, Leadership Project – Governance Programme, School of Governance and Development Studies and BRIDGE Facilitator

Government of Niue

  • Mr. Hagen Siosikefu – Manager/Acting Director, Department of Administrative Services and BRIDGE Facilitator

Government of Palau

  • Ms Maria Ducherong – Administrative Specialist, Palau Election Commission and BRIDGE partial accredited Facilitator (Suva, July 2008) now achieved full accreditation

Government of FSM

  • Mr. Jonathan John – Voter Registration Specialist, FSM Election Commission and BRIDGE partial accredited Facilitator (Suva, July 2006) who has now achieved full accreditation Ms Lululeen Santos – Credit Administrative Assistant, Bank of FSM and BRIDGE partial accredited Facilitator (Narere/Suva November 2008)who has now achieved full accreditation


The Gender and Elections Module has four (4) main objectives:

  • For participants including those representing Election Management Bodies (EMB) to understand why women’s participation is important and how to improve it. For example, through the introduction of Temporary Special Measures (TSM)
  • For women’s advocacy groups to understand the electoral process and develop strategies to promote women’s participation
  • Provide tools for all participants to look at elections from a gender perspective
  • Provide a networking opportunity for women’s advocacy groups

Key Understandings

At the end of the training workshop, participants walked away with better understanding of six (6) important points on which the module is based. That:

  1. As a result of historical, cultural and other factors, women have not yet achieved equality in most societies, including equality in the electoral process.
  2. Human rights are for everybody; women and men are entitled to equal rights and to equal access to the electoral system.
  3. Even if women and men have equal legal rights in regard to elections, specific practices in a country may discriminate against or work to the disadvantage of women becoming active and strong citizens and leaders.
  4. A country’s choice of election system may have a dramatic effect on how many women are elected to office at national or local levels of governance.
  5. There are many steps (including reserved seats or legislative quotas for women) Election Management Bodies (EMB) can take to help ensure broader participation by women.
  6. Domestic and international election observers can contribute to public confidence in elections and to women’s participation.

Immediate Positive Outcomes of the Workshop for UNIFEM GEPG

  1. Partnership built with national and state Governments of FSM, Palau and RMI for further and ongoing consultation and collaboration in the discussions of Temporary Special Measures (TSM) and other activities including capacity building and civic education to advance gender equality in political governance.
  2. Consultation and partnership built with women’s national and state NGOs of FSM, Palau and RMI for purposes outlined in Point 1 above.
  3. Partnership built with UN/CROP and other agencies for further and ongoing consultation and collaboration in FSM, Palau and RMI for purposes outlined in Point 1 above.
  4. Participants’ recognition of the importance of equality in gender and more specifically women’s empowerment in political governance.
  5. Workshop prompted participants to discuss and plan regional, national and state activities to further advance the discussions on women’s political empowerment. An example of such discussions is the coming FSM WAN (Women Action Network) inaugural WIP (Women in Politics) Dialogue scheduled for 18 – 20 August 2009. Similar activities were planned for the RMI and Palau and the different states in each of the three countries. The purposes of the FSM Dialogue were twofold: a). providing an opportunity for Micronesian women politicians (incumbent and former politicians) to share their experiences and stories with the WIPNET participants as a means to inspire FSM women to run for political office; and b). to establish the WIPNET as an ongoing exchange, mentoring and support network for the FSM women electorate.
  6. Full Accreditation awarded to three (3) BRIDGE partial accredited facilitators involved in the workshop increasing the number in northern Pacific to four (4) with now one (1) in Guam, one (1) in Palau and two (2) in  FSM to roll-out BRIDGE modules and other UNIFEM GEPG related training, awareness and advocacy activities in communities in each of the respective countries.
  7. Regular networking between participants and BRIDGE facilitators of the workshop and BRIDGE International Office for updates and collaboration.
  8. Jonathan and Lululeen (newly accredited FSM BRIDGE facilitators) are invited to conduct sessions on Gender and the FSM Electoral Process in the coming FSM WAN WIPNET Dialogue.
  9. RMI participants, Rosalie, Betty and Wisse have been invited to present a session on Gender and Elections at the WUTMI.
  10. Jonathan and Lululeen (newly accredited FSM BRIDGE facilitators) will be delegated the responsibility to conduct a session on TSM on behalf of UNIFEM at the 7-9 September 2009 Micronesian Legislative Conference – “Critical Challenges – United Response” to over 70 legislators of Congress and the different states in Pohnpei, FSM on Tuesday, 8 September.

UNIFEM’s GEPG Programme is a 5 years initiative co-funded by AusAID under its Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP). The programme will contribute to advancing gender equality in political governance in the Pacific region at both national and local levels with the main purpose of increasing the participation of women as active citizens and leaders.

The workshop ended on Thursday the 23rd July by Mr. who gave the closing remark from the FSM Department of Health and Social Services Secretary, Mr. Vita Skilling. (Please read Closing Remarks attached). Most participants including facilitators departed Pohnpei on Friday 24th July, 2009 whilst the remaining participants departed a day later.

Official Opening speech – Elizabeth Cox, Regional Program Director, UNIFEM Pacific Regional Office.

Official Closing Speech.

Audience(s) for this workshop:
Modules used at this workshop:
Expected Outcomes: