The Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators (PIANZEA) Network, hosted by the Australian Electoral Commission and funded by AusAID, conducted the BRIDGE Gender and Elections Module at a workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu from October 11-14. The Gender and Elections workshop focused on Women in elections and looked at some of the barriers that prevent women from participating in all aspects of elections. The workshop was conducted by Tina Ilo from Vanuatu’s department of Women’s Affairs and Ross Attrill and Erik Scholte from the Australian Electoral Commission. A total of 16 participants attended the workshop representing the Electoral Bodies of Pacific Island countries including the Solomon Islands , Tonga, Niue, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu. Participants included the Chairman of the Vanuatu Electoral Commission and the Principal Electoral Officer of the Vanuatu Electoral Office who were both only a matter of days into their tenure. At the conclusion of the workshop Erik was fully accredited as a BRIDGE facilitator.
Participants were not only able to identify the issues that prevent women from participating in elections, they were also able to start planning strategies that their electoral management bodies could employ to increase women’s participation.
Feedback received from the participants was very positive with comments including “Thank you for making the workshop the best I have ever attended” and “great workshop. This is the first time I have been involved in training that provides the perfect balance between theory and practical exercises”
This was a great opportunity for colleagues from around the Pacific to make new contacts as well as an opportunity for old friends to reacquaint themselves.
Erik Scholte – October 2010