Monday, May 31, 2010

OSCE hosts forum on women's participation in political life in Ukraine

A forum on promoting the participation and representation of women in the political life of Ukraine was organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.

The meeting, which is part of a joint ODIHR-European Commission project, brought together members of parliament, political party representatives, district and local councilors, civil society activists and representatives of international organizations as well as academia.

"This forum was part of a series of meetings aimed at sharing experiences and identifying ways forward for increasing the participation of women in politics, and in particular the representation of women in parliaments at all levels," said Marcin Walecki, Chief of the ODIHR's Democratic Governance and Participation Unit.

Participants discussed the development of effective gender equality and anti-discrimination laws and the introduction of electoral legislation that ensures that men and women enjoy equal rights and opportunities to participate in political life and run for elected offices. Discussions also focused on developing policies aimed at mobilizing broader public support and political will crucial for reforms in this area.

"It is high time that political leaders, women and men, join forces with other public stakeholders and pass legislation that will allow for greater opportunities for women to pursue political careers and address gender-based stereotypes that keep women away from leadership positions," said Olexandra Kuzhel, an experienced politician who is a senior official in the political party Strong Ukraine.

Members of parliament and representatives of political parties and women's rights organizations from several OSCE participating States shared their experiences in promoting gender-sensitive policies.

An earlier forum held in 2008 in Ukraine focused on raising the awareness of gender-equality issues in local policy making processes.

Source: OSCE. Published in Kiev on 28 May 2010.

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