Political party leaders were on Monday urged to implement to gender approach in elections.
Cameroon's elections and referenda governing institution, Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) in collaboration with UN Women and other partners are stepping up efforts to ensure increased women's participation in political decision-making and elected positions, particularly in the upcoming legislative and council elections. The institutions organised a two-day workshop in Yaounde that started yesterday, August 13, 2012 to cause political parties to take into account gender mainstreaming in electoral candidate presentation and elected offices in politics.
Representatives of some 28 political parties are taking part in the workshop aimed at strengthening their capacities in gender approach and to enable party leaders take commitments to ensure that more women participate in the organisation of elections. Another objective is to advocate the equitable investiture of female candidates in compliance with the provisions of the April 19, 2012 harmonised Electoral Code.
Among the key personalities present at the opening of the workshop was the Minister of Women's Empowerment and the Family, Marie Thérèse Abena Ondoa. She joined other officials to listen to the Deputy Director General of Elections of ELECAM, Erik Essousse re-affirm the commitment of the institution to "continue to raise the awareness of all partners in the electoral process in view of stimulating this dynamism of gender mainstreaming in the electoral process." The current workshop comes after that of last June on the strategy plan on gender and politics.
Mr Essousse called on political parties to further integrate gender in their strategy of wooing voters as way of presenting more women candidates. He further urged women to register in the electoral register, stating that biometric registration will be launched in a few days.
The Resident Representative of UN Women in Cameroon, Nduwayo Marie Goretti, said Cameroon has voted laws and ratified international instruments that call for the greater participation of women in politics. She said women must enjoy the right to vote and be voted, insisting that political parties that involve more women in elections broaden their electoral base. UN Women, she said was committed to support electoral actors implement the gender approach in politics.
For two days, participants will share experiences on fundamental principles of human rights protection in electoral matters, gender and elections, evaluation and the way forward for an equitable participation of men and women in electoral mandates and elected offices, political parties and the electoral process in Cameroon. The President of the ruling party in Burundi, Conseil National de la Défense de la Démocratie-Forces Nationales de Défense del la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD), Hon. Pascal Nyabenda is scheduled to talk on the political representation of women in his country.