The Role of International Electoral Observation Missions in the Promotion of the Political Rights of Women: The Case of the OAS
Electoral equity is a fundamental component of a democratic election, and therefore a principal concern of international electoral observation. In order to institutionalize the focus on electoral equity, in 2010 the Organization of American States began to develop a rigorous methodology to incorporate a gender perspective into its electoral observation missions. The experience of observing elections with a gender lens has led to several conclusions, namely that low levels of female political representation are a consequence of political party structures, and that the representation of women increases with gender quotas and policies that increase the access of women to political financing. The gender-focus of OAS Missions has served to highlight the underrepresentation of women in public office through recommendations to strengthen female political participation. The impact of the methodology derives from the possibility that these recommendations will serve as springboards for change in the countries of the Americas.