Boosting Women Participation in the Elections
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has begun implementation of a program to boost women’s participation in the forthcoming elections, due to be held in the coming spring. The program is financed by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Asia Foundation. According to the officials, the program is aimed to enhance women’s participation in the presidential and provincial councils’ elections, due to be held next year, through awareness campaigns, providing financial supports to women activists working for the election bodies and women candidates running for presidential post and other government posts.
The program is started to be implemented across the country for next seven years, as there are increasing concerns regarding low turn-out of women in the forthcoming elections due to insecurity and insufficient interests among the people for election participation. So far, a low number of women have registered in the voter registration process, the officials say. IEC officials are concerned that this trend may result to a low turn-out of the women in the next elections in the country. The widespread security and a general low turn-out across the country are the two prime challenges ahead of the election process.
Given the widespread insecurity across the country and peoples weariness from the election process due to the previous fraudulent elections in Afghanistan, it is quite difficult to help stirring a big election turn-out in the coming elections particularly among the women. However, the program would considerably work in the major cities, where people are ready to encourage the female members of their families to participate in elections. But in remote areas and smaller towns, there have to be more efforts to bring not only women, but also male voters, to the election ballots. For this, security is a key. Along security, what can play a key role is a genuine hope for the future among the people as well as the public trust to the government.
Alongside the specific programs aimed at increasing voter increase and people’s participation, particularly the women, in the forthcoming elections, the government should invest on people’s aspirations for a better future and trust among the public to the political system in the country. Regrettably, voter turn-out has gradually decreased in previous elections due to the widespread security concerns, and even more importantly, the declining trust among the people to the political process. The widespread corruption and prolonged war and insecurity have played as serious blows to the public trust to the political processes including the election process.
For sure, programs for boosting women participation is needed to be implemented, but the government should also take programs for promoting public awareness and provoking the interests of the public to the political processes. May the general assumption is that it is too late for the forthcoming elections to implement some specific programs, but in fact, it is never late to restore the public trust to the political system through commitment of the government and political parties to a safe and sound political process and providing public welfare. The government needs to do more to boost public confidence and trust to the election process and the future of the country, no matter in a short period of time or in the long term.