Gender Equality & Election Management Bodies: A Best Practices Guide

Publication Date: 
23 Sep 2014

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The full participation of women and men in political and decision-making processes as voters, candidates, elected officials and electoral management body (EMB) staff is crucial. Yet, despite a set of robust international instruments and many positive developments in recent years, women represent only 21.7 percent of the world's parliamentarians and in many countries they continue to be marginalized and underrepresented in political and electoral processes. Clearly, major steps still need to be taken before true gender equality is achieved in this arena.

The degree to which women are able to participate in elections can be strongly influenced by the policies and programs of an EMB. It is therefore important that EMBs intentionally and proactively take gender into account in the analysis, planning and implementation of all their activities, as well as in their interactions with other stakeholders involved in electoral processes.

To that end, this booklet – first piloted in Nepal and undergoing translation into several other languages – aims to provide EMBs with a resource to develop an integrated approach to gender in electoral administration. By adopting such an approach, EMBs will play a pivotal role in maximizing the participation of women in elections. In turn, this will result in more representative and democratic societies. Using the electoral cycle as a framework and drawing on global best practices, this booklet identifies key actions that can be taken by EMBs at each stage of the cycle to ensure that women's needs are taken into account and policies and programs are designed and implemented accordingly.