The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) hosted yesterday a conference on the role of women in electoral processes. The objective of the conference was to assess the current strategies and enhance their effectiveness to better bolster women’s involvement in electoral processes across West Africa and the Sahel.
Despite international and regional commitments, such as UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, and the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, significant barriers, and persistent challenges in achieving gender equality in political representation and participation still obstruct women’s involvement.
70 participants, including experts and practitioners, discussed the implementation and impact of gender-focused strategies in electoral processes. They identified cultural, economic, and legal barriers as challenges hindering women’s participation and shared practices that have successfully promoted gender equality in electoral systems. The discussions also highlighted the positive impact of implementing women’s quotas to increase female representation in parliamentary bodies.
In her opening remarks, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Giovanie Biha, emphasized the significance of the role of women in electoral processes and the need for all actors to redouble their efforts to ensure full and effective participation of women: “Progress has been made, but a lot still to be done to ensure full participation of women in political processes in the region. Our gathering is a testament to our collective resolve to address the multifaceted challenges faced by women in their legitimate efforts to contribute to peace and development in our region”, she declared.
UNOWAS, in close coordination with its regional and international partners, will continue to further support gender mainstreaming in electoral processes and the implementation of UN Resolution 1325 in West Africa and the Sahel.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).