The League of Women Voters conducted a 4-day workshop titled “Women Making a Difference” in conjunction with the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy and the Women’s Lobby Group of Zambia. The program sought to share ideas on the participation of Zambian women in the elections of 2006.

Ms. Zaida Arguedas, Deputy Executive Director of the League of Women Voters and Director of its Global Democracy Programs, facilitated the conference. She also led several presentations on topics critical to current and aspiring women politicians, which included “Culture vis-à-vis Women Participating in Decision Making”, “Political Parties and Norms: Favorable to Women?” and “Worldwide Political Under Representation of Women.” Through its Global Democracy Program, the League of Women Voters hopes to provide integrated programs for building women’s leadership while lending their expertise on elections and political processes like those in Zambia.

Two additional experts presented to the Zambian audience of women through a digital video conference linking Lusaka and Washington, D.C. Susan Heltemes, a former campaign manager, woman candidate and member of a major U.S. political party spoke along with Marilyn Praisner, a highly regarded woman elected to the local council in the state of Maryland. The pair took the time to answer participants’ questions, elaborating on the role of women in the political process, in the U.S. and Zambia.

In addition to the expert presentations, the program also featured a lively group discussions and other interactive programming that helped aspiring candidates to sharpen their campaign message and create effective campaign strategies. The event brought together women from many of the major political parties, the women agreeing by the conclusion of the conference to continue working together in order to benefit women and women candidates.