PAS N’Djamena organized a DVC on the importance of the involvement of women in the electoral process. The program was facilitated from Washington, DC by Caroline Hubbard, Senior Advisor for Gender, Women and Democracy at the National Democratic Institute. Participants included civil servants, human rights activists, businesswomen, journalists and alumnae of various Embassy-administered exchange programs. The program, the first of a series of eight, enabled the participants to listen to Ms. Hubbard give an overview of women’s participation in the electoral process in the world in general, and in Africa in particular. According to the Speaker, statistics has shown that countries that allow greater participation of women in the electoral process have a better chance to enjoy sustainable social, economic and cultural development. She singled out Rwanda as one example of such countries. After her presentation, a lively a question-answer session enabled the participants and Speaker to discuss the various barriers that prevent Chadian women from fully participating in the electoral process. These barriers include, but are not limited to cultural and religious traditions that keep women out of the political process, the electoral legislation that does not allow independent candidates to run for elections, the lack of democratic culture that characterize the Chadian political party leaders who are generally reluctant to allow female members of their parties to run for elections, etc. “Changing this situation is not easy, but it is possible,” the Speaker told the audience. The future DVC sessions will discuss ways and means to make women strong candidates for elections.