Engaging the Nation in Gender Equality: Haiti’s National Gender and Elections Strategy
After consultation with key national and international stakeholders, Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has developed the country’s first national gender and elections strategy with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). This document is intended as a tool for the CEP to promote women’s participation in all stages of the electoral process and for all relevant stakeholders to coordinate their efforts regarding gender equality in elections in an effective manner. It identifies seven fields of action, including: legal framework; election management; women voters; women in decision-making; political parties; media; and violence against women in elections. For each field of action, the strategy discusses its current state, sets a specific objective, proposes several recommendations for action and introduces a number of indicators to measure progress.
IFES supported the CEP and the Ministry of Women in the organization of ten regional workshops to promote women’s participation at all stages of the electoral process and validate the national gender and elections strategy at the regional level. The targets for these regional workshops included women’s associations, CEP territorial branches, the judiciary, police, journalists and other relevant stakeholders. Specific goals included promoting women’s civil and political rights, engaging political parties in gender equality and strengthening the capacity of CEP territorial branches.
The ten regional workshops were held from March-April, 2015 in Jacmel, Gonaïves, Leogane, Miragoane, Les Cayes, Jeremie, Cap Haïtien, Fort Liberté, Hinche and Port de Paix. More than 700 people (with 73.7 percent women and 26.3 percent men) have participated in these regional workshops across the country, sharing their views and recommendations on gender equality and women’s participation in the electoral process.
CEP Counselors showed a strong engagement with promoting gender equality by participating in these regional workshops in a very active manner. In seven out of the ten regional workshops, CEP Counselors made a presentation on the gender dimension of the legal framework for elections and made substantive contributions to the debate with participants. Minister of Women Yves Rose Morquette also participated in the workshop in Gonaïves.
Furthermore, IFES supported the CEP and the Network of Plural Women from Political Parties (Pluri-femmes) in the organization of a workshop to promote dialogue on women’s participation in the elections, which was held in Port-au-Prince on April 20 with 70 participants from Pluri-femmes, the CEP, political parties and media. CEP counselors Yolette Mengual and Vijonet Demero made presentations on gender equality in elections and also participated in a debate with participants. Journalists were mobilized for this event and its media impact was remarkable, allowing CEP Counselors to promote the national gender and elections strategy.
The next step in the validation process of the national gender and elections strategy will be the organization of a high-level national workshop, to be held in Port-au-Prince in June 2015. This event will be organized by the CEP and the Ministry of Women, in partnership with IFES, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. The workshop is expected to bring together 300 participants, coming from women’s associations, civil society, political parties, national authorities and the international community.