Elections stakeholders debate strategies to eliminate violence against women during elections and increase participation of women in the 2018 electoral processes.

Date: Monday, April 30, 2018

On Thursday April 26, 2018, UN women organized a seminar to raise awareness of leaders of political parties and elections stakeholders on mechanisms to eliminate violence against women during elections and increase the participation of women in the 2018 electoral process.

Representatives of UN agencies, leaders of political parties and other elections stakeholders attending the seminar. Photo credit; Teclaire Same, UN women
Representatives of UN agencies, leaders of political parties and other elections stakeholders attending the seminar. Photo credit; Teclaire Same, UN women

 

In his welcome address Adama Moussa, Resident Representative of UN Women noted that the active involvement and participation of women in politics and electoral processes is a principal indicator for good governance and sustainable development. “This meeting which targets leaders of political parties who have a major role in increasing political participation of women should contribute to identify strategies and mechanisms to level the playing field by eliminating discriminatory structures and practices which limit women’s participation of women”.

A cross section of participants during the seminar. Photo credit; Teclaire Same, UN Women
A cross section of participants during the seminar. Photo credit; Teclaire Same, UN Women

This workshop which brought together over 40 participants (50% of whom were women political leaders), presented a forum for stakeholders to raise awareness, share experience and debate strategies to end gender discrimination and violence against women in electoral processes. Participants noted that current electoral laws and policies of political parties such as imposing a level of education and mastery of English and French languages, huge financial fees for candidates etc. and election violence which targets the image and reputation of women as the principal barriers to women participation in politics. These discriminatory practices prevents women especially at the local level who play a major role in mobilizing women voters during elections from participating as candidates.

Mr. Mewoand Huges, Head of Studies at ELECAM. Photo credit; Teclaire Same, UN Women.
Mr. Mewoand Huges, Head of Studies at ELECAM. Photo credit; Teclaire Same, UN Women

Mr. Mewoand Huges, Head of Studies at ELECAM, shared some strategies adopted by elecam to eliminate discrimination and violence against women during electoral processes. “ELECAM, ensures the legal provisions regarding the integration of gender in the constitution of the nomination lists and the elimination of discrimination against women during elections. ELECAM is currently implementing awareness campaigns in collaboration with women's associations, CSOs and international organizations to ensure effective political participation of women during the 2018 elections” he explained.

Despite the increase in the representation of women in parliament (31%) and senate (26%), of women’s representation at the municipal level remains relatively low (8%). This statistic is evidence of the existing gender inequality in the participation of women as voters, election officials, but also and especially as candidates. Participants at the seminar highlighted the need to increase advocacy, sensitization and capacity building of stakeholders to influence policies which increase the quota of women representation and eliminate barriers that limit the participation of women in politics.

UN Women is engaged in supporting the government and political parties to attain full and equal political participation of women and girls and to fight against all forms of violence and discrimination during the coming elections. The vision is to increase the number of women represented in national, regional and local political institutions and guarantee equal participation of women and men by 2030. At the end of the seminar participants signed a commitment to promote equal participation and eliminate violence against women and girls during the 2018 elections.