Women have a critical role to play in the consolidation of peace in the DRC and for the positive outcome of the process.
However, several obstacles make women’s participation in the electoral process more difficult than men’s. These obstacles include cultural factors such as deficit of civic duty, practical obstacles such as family responsibilities or even the fear to compete with men during physical security-related fears, economic obstacles that make access to infrastructures difficult, as well as a high level of ignorance.
Potential voters, candidates and observers, women have the right to assume senior management positions. For this very reason, the integration of the gender concept into the electoral process must not be reduced to mere sensitization of women as voters given their large representation, but must also integrate this concept with a view to promoting women’s participation in the electoral process as candidates, observers, political parties’ witnesses and/or members of the electoral administration.
Through its then Electoral Division, MONUSCO coordinates electoral assistance to the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), on behalf of the entire United Nations system, with particular focus on full participation of Congolese women in the electoral process.
Taking into account the gender dimension in the electoral process is a priority for Gender office which ensures, in collaboration with all its partners, that the gender dimension is integrated into draft laws.
The Office especially encourages the dissemination of information on the existing legal framework and organises consultations to ensure that the framework is conducive to women’s participation.
As an example, a July 2008 survey conducted by the Office in partnership with the Consultation Platform for Congolese Women (CAFCO) on women and elections provides a genuine guide for a better coordination of efforts by the actors working for women’s inclusion in political activities.