UNDP supports greater role and participation of women in elections

May 25, 2015

Voter in Tirana

A two-day BRIDGE workshop on Gender and Elections took place in Tirana ahead of local elections. Participants included members and staff of Central Election Commission and civil society organizations. The workshop sought to explore issues facing women in elections, from the perspectives of voters candidates and members of the election administration.

Participants benefitted from the international experiences in promoting women’s participation in political life. Such measures included the 50% mandatory gender quota recently introduced for candidates to the municipal councils. While acknowledging this as an important step, participants discussed how the quota must be extended to parliamentary elections to be truly valuable to women, and how the number of elected women councilors will likely be significantly less than 50%, given the limitations of a such a quota system for candidates.

Through the interactive workshop, participants also were asked to identify what to them were the main existing barriers of women’s full and equal political and electoral participation in Albania. Participants then developed ideas to address some of these deficiencies, which can serve as priority recommendations for the Central Election Commission and other institutions to focus their collective efforts in the post-election period.

The workshop took place following a recently completed UNDP study: “Strengthening the decision-making power of councilwomen in Albania”, which examines the decision-making power of councilwomen and provides suggestions on how to strengthen it. 186 councilwomen from both urban and rural areas participated in the study. The study showed that women need more democracy everywhere, in local politics, in party politics and in political life in general in order to be able to exert decision making power and to lead decisions for impacting the lives of women.

This gender BRIDGE training is organized as part of “Strengthening Electoral Processes in Albania” project, which is designed to support Albania’s electoral institutions in the run-up to the 21 June 2015 local elections and beyond.

BRIDGE stands for Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections. It is a joint project of IDEA, IFES, the Australian Electoral Commission, the UN Electoral Assistance Division and UNDP. As such it is a unique combination of international experience and capacities that the UN is making available to Albania.

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