There is growing recognition that stable peace and national prosperity can only be achieved when institutions are democratic and representative of all groups of society.   The United Nations’ support for electoral processes now plays a pivotal role in many peace-keeping and peace-building activities. Enhancing women’s participation in electoral processes in post-conflict countries is an integral part of these efforts.  It is also in keeping with the many instruments and declarations that Member States have adopted to promote the situation of women worldwide.


The current handbook is intended to provide a quick reference guide to assist headquarters- and field-based actors from the United Nations, Governments and civil society working to promote greater participation of women in electoral processes in post-conflict countries.  The handbook found its inspiration in the issues and findings of the Expert Group meeting held in Glen Cove, NY, in January 2004, organized jointly by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women


(OSAGI) and the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs (EAD), as well as in the knowledge and experience accumulated by the United Nations in assisting countries that emerge from conflict. The handbook was prepared by OSAGI and EAD in consultation with a network of experts from within and outside the Organisation.   


In presenting this handbook, I wish to express my full appreciation for the unstinting support that OSAGI extended to EAD during the process that led to its publication. 


All actors working in post conflict countries must place a high priority on promoting women’s full participation in all aspects of electoral processes and lessons learned from such efforts must be shared.



                                                Carina Perelli


                                        Electoral Assistance Division

                                       Department of Political Affsirs