19th March 2021, The Hague
Following an official invitation by the Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations to observe the Dutch Elections from the 15th to the 17th March 2021, Gender Concerns International has successfully facilitated the short-term Gender Election Observation Mission (GEOM), the GEOM NL 2021. Headed by Sabra Bano, together with Joint-Head of Mission Lucyna de Graaf, a team of 20 international and national observers were deployed in 19 out of 20 electoral districts for the three days of the elections.
The 2021 Election has been a momentous event for The Netherlands. Firstly, 10 out of the 37 contesting political parties were led by women, the highest number in its history. Secondly, this was an organisational feat as the Government adapted to Covid-19 procedures to accommodate and support voters electoral participation. GEOM NL 2021 was conducted in full compliance with the government’s Covid-19 Directives.
The Covid-19 protocols reflect the stable democratic structure. There was a strong availability of easily accessible polling stations with helpful and considerate staff for all three election days, and increased access to proxy and postal voting. The election administration is highly praised for delivering a record voter turnout, currently estimated to be around 82.6%, the highest turnout since 1986.
The GEOM NL 2021 is a women-led, women-managed and women-reported unique mission. The team was composed of 14 female, 5 male and 1 non-binary observers. The mission observed polling stations in accordance with the mandate of Gender Concerns International and national legislations, as well as with a specific gender perspective by democratic standards of objectivity and neutrality, and as a signatory to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation (DoP).
GEOM NL 2021 has been deployed in 12 provinces and 19 electoral districts, covering all areas of The Kingdom of The Netherlands except for the special Caribbean municipalities of Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius. This makes GEOM NL 2021 the largest deployed election observation mission in The Netherlands. Observation teams visited small and large polling stations across the electoral districts including places like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Urk, Roermond, Goes and Buitenpost.
GEOM observed a great number of women’s electoral participation as voters, candidates and as administrators in these elections. GEOM reports that voter education remains an issue that requires attention to women voters with an ethnic minority background. The Mission noted that more women than men have been found following the Covid-19 directives. The final report will be issued in the following weeks.
GEOM NL 2021 is a follow up to the previous mission GEOM NL 2017, aiming to observe upcoming European general elections. These missions reflect the imperative need to observe political participation processes in the Dutch general election through a gendered lens.
GEOM primarily focuses on promoting inclusive governance and it supports gender parity in electoral processes in order to qualify women to obtain leadership positions and key decisions-making roles. The GEOM instrument incorporates a gender dimension to international election observation. It emphasises women's democratic participation as voters, candidates and electoral officials.
Gender Concerns International is an international gender and development organisation based in The Hague working to support and advocate for women's participation in all levels of governance and decision-making positions.
Issued by Sabra Bano, the Head of the GEOM NL 2021.
For Mission details please contact Sabra Bano and Lucyna de Graaf.
Email: Sbano@genderconcerns.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: 0653965784.
For further information please contact Rosalind Bennett, Coordinator GEOM NL 2021 at:
Further information is available on our website www.genderconcerns.org and email@example.com