Press Release: Closing the Gap: Parity in Electoral Participation 'Gender-disaggregated Data is a Prerequisite'

The Hague, 4th July 2017

The Final Report

Gender Election Observation Mission (GEOM) Elections 15 March 2017, the Netherlands

Today, the Parliamentary Commission on Home Affairs of the Parliament of the Netherlands received a petition filed by Gender Concerns International that gender disparity persists in the Netherlands and a systematic exclusion of women from electoral processes is posing challenges for gender parity.

The petition is based on the conclusion and findings of the Gender Election Observation Mission (GEOM) Report and it urges the Dutch government to prioritize bridging the gender disparity gap in the Netherlands. It further refers to the SDGs target for 2030, suggesting that the Netherlands, as a leading harbinger for change and inclusiveness, could consider new measures to ensure that the nation leads the way and achieves greater parity in the next elections.

The final report on the Parliamentary Elections held on the 15th of March 2017 in the Netherlands was officially presented by the GEOM Head of Mission Ms. Magdalena De Meyer and Mission Chief Coordinator and the Director Gender Concerns International Ms. Sabra Bano.

To mark the 100 years of women`s suffrage in the Netherlands, the mission assessed the electoral participation of women by observing election day proceedings. Based on a thorough observation, the GEOM report presents recommendations addressed to the Election Commission, political parties, the parliament, the government and the media.

The petition urges the Election Commission and the Parliament to consider GEOM Recommendations with pressing attention to introduce the compilation of disaggregated data by sex in order to monitor issues such as, voter turnout and proxy voting and to ensure transparency and a thorough investigation of gender roles in the electoral process.

The representatives of the Commission of Internal Affairs and the Gender Concerns delegation at report presentation in Parliament.

Consultation with leading national women's organisations is a valuable asset. Enhanced efforts to promote women's participation at all levels of the electoral process, including recruitment within the electoral authorities at the local and national levels, is needed. Launching targeted campaigns for electoral participation of all minority groups is recommended. On the issue of opportunities for electability, the political parties are advised to place female candidates by alternate positions on the candidate list.

The positive conduct of the general elections illustrated a stable democratic structure of high quality. Dutch voters cast their votes in remarkably high numbers due to the availability of easily accessible polling stations equipped with helpful and considerate staff. Meticulous organisation enabled an exceptional turnout of 80.2%, the highest electoral turnout in the Netherlands in the last 30 years. Gender Concerns International launches its first ever European GEOM in the Netherlands. To mark 100 years of women’s voting rights in the country, GEOM Netherlands 2017 focused on women’s electoral participation as voters, administrators and candidates.

The report highlights various recommendations with an aim to contribute to promote gender parity in the Netherlands, ensuring continuous, long-term and sustainable progress for a gender-sensitive electoral process and advanced equality based inclusive democracy.

Please find the Final Report here. For the legal references mentioned in the report, please click here.

More information is available on our website:
For further details please contact Sabra Bano, at or Dyantha Boxum at

+ 316 53965784, +316 (0)70 4445082

The GEOM Netherlands 2017 was composed of 18 mainly female International Observers that were deployed across 10 provinces, from Maastricht to Groningen, Rotterdam to Utrecht and from Schilderswijk in The Hague to Urk. The Mission focused on demographically contrasting regions including areas with many voters belonging to minority communities, as well as to locations across the Bible-belt.

The GEOM is an international election observation mission introduced by Gender Concerns International, with a rigorous methodology that ensures that elections are observed exclusively from a gender perspective. The GEOM in the Netherlands is a pilot initiative to future Missions in other European countries.