Training course on gender and elections, Dakar sally, 6 to 11 of June 2011

The workshop was attended by 34 participants from UNDP country offices (Chad, DRC, Mauritania, Niger, Cameroon, Sao Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Niger), Electoral Management Bodies (Burundi, Chad, Sao Tomé and Principe, Niger), and women’s organizations (Rwanda, Senegal, Niger, and Cameroon).

The contents mainly focused on equal political participation of women and men in Africa, knowledge on elections, electoral assistance and gender.

Experiences and initiatives undertaken by participating countries to improve women’s political participation were shared and ways to increase the proportion of women engaged in electoral mandates and elective functions were analyzed.

Participant's perspective:

“In view of the varied experiences of participants and legislation in each country, I realized that most of our countries have a long way to go to pass normative acts that support the promotion of gender in politics in general and the participation of women in elected office in particular. For this reason, I believe it is necessary to prepare policy makers and the legislature to innovate in legislative matters. Women are and should agents of change and I will talk to others, friends and colleagues to share that and disseminate what I discussed at the workshop. ” highlighted mr. Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, President of CENI, Burundi who attended the training (read more...)

The participants effectively used electoral assistance as entry point for the respect of women’s politic and civil rights and to support stake holders and electoral assistance providers. In this way they can better act and make decision in accordance with international standards and international practices at all phases of the electoral cycle.

Finally, working groups worked on how to mainstream gender in the electoral assistance, as well as how to support the development of a gender sensitive approach in key areas such as: legal framework; voter registration and enrolment; civics and electoral voter education and information; electoral campaign; political parties norms and rules; election observation; media coverage.

The joint participation of UNDP staff, government officials and EMBs allowed making recommendations for an institutional capacity building for gender mainstreaming in the electoral assistance and process, on the basis of the electoral cycle approach.

Two key recommendations have emerged from the participants in the training:

  • To support the training of people involved at the highest level of decision making in electoral matters, EMBs, and the international electoral assistance providers.  
  • To develop training materials on gender and elections in French.

You can join the discussion on UNDP Teamworks.

Training background: GPECS gender component

The overarching objective of the gender component of GPECS (GPECS Gender) is to achieve full and equal participation of women as voters and candidates based on the electoral cycle approach. It will (1) ensure that electoral assistance addresses gender inequality and promotes the empowerment of women in the electoral process and administration, and (2) bolster women’s representation and political participation in decision-making bodies.

The main priority areas of the Africa gender component are to promote gender aware electoral programming in country offices and regional centre; to administer a quick intervention fund for women to organize in the immediate post-conflict setting; to support knowledge development and promotion around women’s political participation to reach the mandated minimum UN target of 30 percent representation of women; enhance capacity building of election practitioners, EMBs and CO staff and support communities of practice to mainstream gender in electoral administration.