INEC unveils updated gender policy
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday, launched an updated gender policy in Abuja.
The policy, according to May Agbamuche-Mbu, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairperson, Legal Services Clearance and Complaints Committee (LSCCC), is expected to foster gender balance in the commission and to stimulate concerned parties in electoral processes to do the same.
She noted in her keynote address, that gender is fundamental to any democracy, adding that “any perceived imbalance in representation or participation by any segment of society in a democracy undermines the core democratic principles of equity, equality and fairness.”
She also said that gender-blind approaches for any organisation are harmful development practices as it incorporates biases in favour of existing gender relations and therefore, tend to exclude women.
According to Ms Agbamuche-Mbu, the commission is committed to facilitating an electoral process that is both gender-responsive and a reference point as an election management body of the highest standard.
“The commission sees the issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment as a priority agenda,” she said.
The objectives of the gender policy include: ensuring INEC policies, plans, process and operations are gender-responsive; encouraging gender equality and balance within political parties, especially in the identification of candidates in line with the provisions of their statutes.
It also includes increasing budgetary provisions and mobilising partners to effectively provide funding for sensitive actions within their purview; supporting an enabling legislative environment to achieve gender equality and bridging gaps in political representation in elective posts at all electoral levels
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, outreach and partnership committee (OPC), Kunle Ajayi, representing the commission’s chairman, said the policy’s blueprint is meant to impact on greater women’s participation in the electoral space.
“The commission has always placed priority on women political empowerment through its multi-sectoral approaches and actions to make gender equity and balance in the political process,” Mr Ajayi said.