Hosting of a Gender and Election Watch Room (GEW)
The Gender and Elections Watch Room is an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust fund as a tool to provide strategic election analysis through observation. This is particularly helpful in countries in which a significant proportion of the population may lack fair representation in the electoral system. In Nigeria, although several theories have been publicized about the role of gender equality and the motivating factors for women in elections compared to men, there exist gaps in collating the core issues affecting women aspirants, candidates and female voters in the election cycles. Similarly, the analyses of issues prioritized by women exclude constraints presented by the quality of governance, which could potentially influence women’s protection or a level political playing field.
Against the above purview, the Gender and Election Watch (GEW) was initiated by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) in partnership with Westminster Foundation for Democracy and with support form the European Union Support for Democratic Governance to aim at observing and analyzing the participation of women compared to men in elections through election observation from a gender perspective in Osun, Imo States and the Federal Capital City (FCT).
GEW is a response to inadequate women focused election observation report and analysis for the female gender. It is similarly an assessment of how all elements of an election process affect women in general and similarly serve as a research spectrum for other program interventions to bridge this gap and provide a comprehensive focus on how women engage with the electoral process as electorates and candidates on election days.
With a view to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s efforts to improve electoral processes, The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) participated in the election observation of the Osun governorship election. The focus of GEW was to observe the elections from a gender perspective, taking into cognizance how women participated as voters, security officers, poll workers, party agents, presiding officers, election observers, activists and candidates.