As a follow-up of a series of events dedicated to increasing women's participation in political life, an online discussion on the topic "Women's choice in Latvia-elections" was held today, July 30, 2020. The online-talk was conducted by the Former Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Latvia, Mr. Arnis Tsimdars. The purpose of the online discussion was to discuss women's participation in politics based on the experience of Latvia.
Mr. Arnis Tsimdars shared his experience with the participants of the online discussion, providing examples of women's leadership in Latvia:
«Despite the fact that women were given the opportunity to be elected back in 1918 in Latvia, women were not immediately able to come to politics. This path took a lot of time and effort. And what's more, even now, it's not always easy for women politicians. Politician Dana Reizniece-Ozola, a member of the Latvian Parliament, said that there are attempts by male colleagues to manipulate a woman by placing her in a school class. If this doesn't work, they put women in the class of women and try to compliment them. And if that doesn't work, then she's classified as a witch. Women politicians are more likely to receive criticism not only for their actions, but also for their appearance: for their hair, dress, etc».
The discussion meeting was attended by 25 participants, many of whom actively asked questions and shared their impressions of the meeting itself. During the discussion, one of the participants asked if there are any preferential policies for women, to which the speaker replied that there are no direct preferences in the form of quotas for women in Latvia. There are indirect preferences, such as the ability to get child care not only for women, but also for men and even grandmothers, depending on who will take care of the newborn.
The online discussion was live streamed on Facebook and then recorded in order to reach more viewers.
This event was organized as part of the Kyrgyz Elections Support Program, implemented by UNDP with the support of the governments of Switzerland, Japan and Germany. The program aims to assist the Central Commission for elections and referendums of the Kyrgyz Republic in developing its capacity to support local and parliamentary elections in 2020-2021 using technologies. This equipment will help ensure the sustainable use of a biometrics-based voter identification model and support other factors that contribute to free, fair, trustworthy, and transparent elections, including the empowerment of women as voters and eligible candidates.
Former Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Latvia (from December 11, 1997 through March 21, 2019). During the term of office of Latvia’s CEC chairman, organized and conducted 15 national elections and 8 referendums. Currently, he is the president of the Latvian Association of Election Experts. Member of the Association of European Election Officials ACEEEO (1998-2019), member of the Executive Board of ACEEEO (2000-2019), President of ACEEEO (2005 – 2007), since 2019 - consultant to the ACEEEO Secretariat. He has experience in parliamentary elections in Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, as well as in presidential elections in the United States, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.