Workshop on Gender and Elections, Barisal, Bangladesh 23-24 November 2018
20 September 2019
The Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat (ECS), in partnership with UN Women and UNDP organized its third BRIDGE workshop on Gender and Elections under the framework “Support to the Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections 2018-2019 (SBPE)” on 16-17 November 2018 at the Bangladesh Development Society (BDS) in Barisal.
The workshop was inaugurated by Election Commissioner Brigadier General (Retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury along with senior officials of the ECS. During his inaugural speech, he highlighted the presence of 104 million voters in the country of which half are women, and taking this into consideration, he urged women voters to exercise their voting right in the upcoming election to play a role in forming a government.
The workshop was attended by 31 participants including 7 women. 12 participants represented the ECS Regional and District Offices of Barisal, and 19 represented the media, CSOs promoting women’s rights, election observation organizations and universities. Throughout the workshop, participants expressed their interest and actively engaged in all the sessions, with particular enthusiasm on the session “Voter Outreach: Messages and Methods for gender inclusive elections”. They appreciated the workshop methodology and the professionalism of the facilitation team, and thanked the workshop management team for choosing to implement the workshop in Barisal, emphasizing that it opened a window of opportunity and sensitized them on gender equity in elections.
Comments received from the participants:
- “As an election official, I had the opportunity to hear from community leadership about our election management responsibilities. Their suggestions will help me to think better to ensure a safe and peaceful voting environment especially for women”. – ECS participant
- “Ensuring the right to Freedom of Expression, Peaceful Assembly, Freedom of Association is the key to uphold true democratic practice. I realized this clearly through participating in this BRIDGE workshop”. – Journalist participant
- “As Journalist I came to understand the preparation of election officials for ensuring safety and security of women in the upcoming election and these information will help us to monitor and prepare investigative election reports”. – Journalist participant
The workshop was conducted by the following BRIDGE facilitators:
- Saif Uddin Ahmed, Consultant, UN Women Bangladesh
- Shahedunnabi Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, Bangladesh
- Fahmida Sultana, Assistant Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, Bangladesh