Burundi :The number of women holding decision making positions has decreased

IMG_8020The representation of women in decision making instances has decreased after the 2015 elections. The information came out of an evaluation workshop of the results of the 2015 electoral process organized by ministry of human rights, social Affairs and Gender. However, public services and non-government organizations had held a lot of sensitization sessions to promote effective participation of women in decision making positions.

 

New strategies that could be developed to achieve better women representation in decisions making bodies in 2020 electoral process.

According to Mr. Prosper Ntahorwamiye, Commissioner for civic education and communication to the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Assembly now has 121 MPs including 44 women, representing 36%. Before the death of former President Bagaza last May, the Senate was composed of 43 senators including 18 women representing 41.86%. Of 119 communal administrators elected by communal councils, 39 are women, representing 32.77%. Of 14,536 members of areas councils, only 2,486 are women and they represent 17.10%. Women who are chiefs of areas represent only 6%. In 2010 elections, women represented 32% in the National Assembly, 46% in the Senate, 34% in communal councils, 17% in area councils and 33% in the Cabinet.

Women do not vote for their peers because women who have leadership values are not the ones who are put on the parties’ candidates list

On his part, Mr. Felix Ngendabanyikwa, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry responsible for Gender balance, noted that representation of women in 2010 elections exceeded 30%.Many challenges to the promotion of women representation in decision making bodies were identified and relevant recommendations were made.Regarding obstacles to adequate women representation in decision making positions, it was noticed that the 2015 election took place in a context of political tensions and misunderstandings. According to Mr. Ntahorwamiye, the atmosphere was not encouraging for women to go to vote. Equally, the situation did not favor sensitization campaigns to mobilize the maximum of women candidates and voters.

Women do not vote for their peers because women who have leadership values are not the ones who are put on the parties’ candidates list

During the workshop, it has been stressed that women do not vote for their peers because women who have leadership values are not the ones who are put on the parties’ candidates list. In addition, women voters may not share common agenda with the women who are proposed as candidates. Instead of promoting women welfare, they feel they are accountable to the political party leader who mentioned them on the candidates list.Others women do not vote for their peers because women who have leadership values are not the ones who are put on the parties’ candidates listin terms of conflict resolution, economic and health development.

Participants recommended that a monitoring committee for implementation of actions and strategies to address the issue of women representation should be put in place. The also proposed that sensitization activities to stimulate women to participate in elections should be planned in time. Moreover, some provisions of the legal and technical framework should be updated and improved in a way that promotes gender integration. Women who are politicians should effectively participate in electoral meetings in order to preach by examples through training, inform and education sessions of their peers from an early age.

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