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National Electoral Board of Ethiopia holds Consultative Forum on Women Inclusive Election Campaigns and the Role of Stakeholders

National Electoral Board of Ethiopia held a consultative forum with political parties and stakeholders on March 15, 2021 regarding women inclusive election campaign and the role of stakeholders. The forum was opened by Wubishet Ayele, Deputy Chairman of the Board. In his speech, the deputy chairperson described the progress of women's political participation over the past 30 years. He added that despite progress, much remains to be done.

Following the speech of the Deputy Chairperson of the Board, Elias Ali presented a study by Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on violence against women participating in political and electoral processes. Recommendations concerning female party members and candidates and inputs from the Gender Audit Report were presented by the Board's Gender and Inclusion Head, Medhanit Legesse.

Bizuwork Ketete who is member of the board, explained the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has ongoing efforts to ensure a women-inclusive election process. Following her explanation, she moderated a discussion among participants. Participants admired the Board's efforts, noting that there had been a change in attitudes since similar forums began, but stressed that the fact on the ground was far from changing. Recalling their experiences during registration, they emphasized that female candidates are facing threats leading them to resign even after registering as candidates. The Board members stated that the participants brought stronger and more realistic ideas than ever before and said these are testaments to the capacity of the forum to make a difference.

Steps that can be taken to enable female candidates to campaign effectively and sexual harassment that possibly can occur during election period were presented by experts with experience on international level. Following this, a panel discussion moderated by Meskerem Gesit (legal and gender expert and international consultants) took place with Konjit Berhanu (EPRP Chairperson), Dr. Rahel Bafe (Chairman of the Joint Council of Parties), and Nabiha Mohammed (Founding Member of the Joint Council of Women Politicians). The panelists spoke on their personal experiences and participants also shared their comments and ideas. The forum was closed with a speech by Bizuwork Ketete where she thanked the participants and those who supported the board in organizing the forum.

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