Women in 2023 continue to expand their roles in governance and civic decision-making processes as voters, elected officials, electoral management body (EMB) staff and in the elections industry. On International Women’s Day we look that the significance of this continuing evolution.
The policies and programs of EMBs often play a significant role in determining women’s participation levels in elections. EMBs must, therefore, intentionally and proactively consider gender in planning and implementing activities and in their interactions with election stakeholders.
Beginning with their own organizations, EMB can, through role modeling and thoughtful decision making, exert positive influence on gender equality in the election ecosystem. But research conducted in March of 2022 by International IDEA on more than 200 EMBs worldwide revealed that, on average, only 22% of election management boards worldwide are chaired by women. So there is still work to be done. [To read more about women as Chief Elections Officers, click here.]
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“She Leads,” a flagship program of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), works to empower women with the skills and knowledge to participate and take on leadership roles in political and electoral processes through a series of beginner, intermediate and advanced trainings. Through 2015, “She Leads” had trained over 2,600 women in four countries and continues to expand it work today.
Women are also playing a bigger role in elections through their work in supporting organizations, including Smartmatic. The growing the number of women in STEM careers play an increasingly important role in election technology development and election modernization. You can read about some of our women achievers here.
There continues to be a plenty of work to do to ensure equal access to the vote for women. However, women continue to take on the challenges. By talking about it on days of commemoration like International Women’s Day, we help recognize success and keep this important topic top of mind.