21 November 2014
Pre-Deployment: Presidential Elections
Gender Election Watch Tunisia 2014
Speech by Head of Mission at press conference for deployment of observers for presidential election: click here
At a press conference in Tunis on 21 November, Ms. Sabra Bano, Head of Mission, announced the country-wide deployment of Gender Election Monitoring teams to monitor the Tunisian presidential elections from a gender inclusive perspective on 23 November 2014.
“The Gender Concerns International election monitoring team, along with partner organisations, is honored to be trusted with such an important role in observing women’s participation in polling stations around Tunisia for the presidential election of 23 November. It is our aim that through this mission that policy makers, media sources and global populations will more clearly recognise and implement the indispensable value of women’s full and fair democratic participation”, said Ms. Bano.
This Gender Election Monitoring initiative is designed to support an environment in which women make crucial contributions as leaders and policy makers. Women are catalysts for positive change; from the community to the national level, positive change begins with the free casting of a single vote.
The 23 November Presidential Election monitoring mission is part of Gender Election Watch Tunisia 2014. This mission is carried out in partnership between the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH), the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD), the Association of Tunisian Women for Research and Development (AFTURD) and Gender Concerns International.
Gender Election Watch Tunisia 2014 comprises 10 international and 100 national female election observers to be deployed to polling stations around the country. This mission highlights women’s current and potential participation in political process, with a particular focus on those in rural areas. Monitoring of electoral processes from a gender perspective underscores the societal and political challenges that must be overcome to ensure inclusive governance in the future of Tunisia.
Our teams have spoken to newly-elected female parliamentarians during our pre-election activities this past week. Their motivation and courage to pursue a vision of a more secure and prosperous Tunisia – even whilst facing the realities of poor economic conditions, extremism and discrimination – is inspiring to us. This resolve can readily spread to inspire other policy makers of the country.
The Gender Election Monitoring Mission concept was created by Gender Concerns and first implemented in the Pakistani parliamentary elections of 2008. Since then, our specialised teams have monitored elections in Tunisia in 2011, Morocco, Libya and a second time in Pakistan. We are bringing our collective experience from these missions to Sunday’s elections. This election is a key opportunity for Tunisia, women and democracy.
Gender Concerns has observed that the progress of women in democratic processes and inclusive governance to date is more than a benchmark to maintain; this progress is the direction of further achievement. It is important not to take women’s democratic participation for granted, or we could see a loss of such precious progress. That is why we are here.
It vital that this moment gains attention in Tunisia, the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region and in other developing democracies that view Tunisia as a ground-zero – where democratic change can take root and flourish. This is a human issue; progress in gender and democracy requires not only vigilance in guarding against those who want it to fail, it requires transparency and public awareness.
Through our monitoring of the 2014 parliamentary elections, Gender Concerns and partners formulated recommendations to be considered by governmental institutions, civil society and media organisations.
Our recommendations include:
1. A greater number of awareness campaigns and close monitoring of the participation of women in rural areas remains necessary in order to help illiterate women to vote.
2. More practical measures are needed at polling stations to help women with young children to vote.
4. The media coverage of female candidates should be improved considerably. The regulations (joint decision ISIE/HAICA), should be reviewed to ensure the equal treatment of male and female candidates.
5. A gender perspective must be considered in all statistics related to elections and be published to enable civil society to monitor it, and ISIE pay special attention to gender-neutral promotion material.
Understanding of the need for gender parity socially and politically, and working towards these ends, Tunisia can continue to be a leader in the promotion of women’s rights. We aim to share our election observations with policy makers who can bring stability through gender-equal laws and processes.
Our sincere thanks go to the Federal Foreign Office of Germany for their support of this mission. We are pleased with what we have accomplished in monitoring the parliamentary elections, and we look forward to sharing our observations and recommendations from Gender Election Watch Tunisia 2014.
For more information contact Matt Luna, Mission Outreach and Management: firstname.lastname@example.org