Enhancing women’s participation in democratic elections was the subject of a discussion held by the OSCE on 13 July 2012 in Vienna, on the margins of a major OSCE conference on elections.
The discussion drew in members of civil society, elections experts, political party members, and elected officials in a discussion on including women in all parts of the electoral process.
Miroslava Beham, OSCE Senior Adviser on Gender Issues, opened the event by stating the importance of its objectives: “If stability, transparency and prosperity in our countries is our goal, then including women is the means.”
Nicola Schmidt, Deputy Head for Operations in the Elections Department of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said that the full participation of women is a necessary precursor to democratic elections.
Independent elections expert Hannah Roberts said that using sex disaggregated indicators to measure women’s inclusion, and examining state policies that guide civic and voter education, are useful practices.
The meeting participants also discussed the use of quotas for female candidates, encouraging the use of new technologies in women’s networks, and engaging young women in election processes across the OSCE region.