First-ever BRIDGE Gender and Elections workshop took place in Ashgabat during 11-13 February 2014. It was organized by UNDP Turkmenistan, in cooperation with the Central Election Commission of Turkmenistan for the group of electoral administration officials, members of Parliament, representatives of political parties and unions. In total the number of participants constituted 27 (12 male, 15 female).
The workshop was conducted in Russian by a team of international experts: Pavel Cabacenco, accrediting level facilitator and Natia Kashakashvili, expert level facilitator. Participants were welcomed by the CEC Deputy Chair Mr. Allaberdi Ussayev and UNDP/Turkmenistan representative Ogulshirin Yazlyyeva.
The workshop agenda focused on definition of gender, gender mainstreaming tools and checklists, gender aspects of electoral cycle, international standards of elections and particularly gender related standards and good practices, gender aspects of voter registration, women’s participation trends and the latest data, electoral systems and gender quotas, advocacy and lobbying for reform.
The principles of free and fair elections as well as the criteria of the internationally accepted standards of the elections were introduced to participants via several international documents, such as Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and other conventions. Apart from the principles of the elections, participants have identified specific articles that guarantee the participation of women in the electoral processes. Besides that participants learned about the sources of international targets in insuring socio-political representation of women and discussed about the progress in reaching those targets. The concept of the advocacy and lobbing of the gender reform were presented to participants in order to explore approaches and strategies of gender reform promotion.
Workshop participants have positively evaluated the workshop in terms of content and methodology and thanked the implementers.
BRIDGE Gender and Elections workshop was conducted in frames of the UNDP Turkmenistan project on enhancing the electoral system and processes in Turkmenistan implemented since 2008. It focuses on providing electoral assistance to the Central Election Commission of Turkmenistan to strengthen the capacity of CEC in implementation of the Unified Electoral Code and the provisions of the Law on Political Parties.