Tuesday, 27 September. 2022
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Ramallah – 2/3/2022 – MIFTAH recently held a session to discuss the discriminatory practices against women during the first phase of local elections and the percentage of youth and women’s representation in electoral lists. The meeting was aimed at raising awareness of these practices and measures so they could be avoided during the second phase of local elections, slated for March 26.

The meeting was attended by several representatives of political parties and civil society organizations, who discussed the challenges women and youth face during local elections. A factsheet prepared by MIFTAH on the topic was presented, which showed the gaps in women’s visibility and presence in election campaigns during the first phase. The paper displayed how some locations dismissed the presence of women in election campaigns, blocking candidates’ pictures on posters and replacing them with symbols. The factsheet also noted there were nine lists headed by women as opposed to eight in the second phase. Women who won seats in the first phase of elections constituted 20.5% of the vote, which does not exceed the quota determined in the Local Elections Law or the Local Authorities Law.

The meeting also discussed youth representation during the first phase of elections, whereby the age group of 25-35 constituted 21.7%, followed by the 36-45 age bracket, at 27.4%, compared to the second phase in which the 25-30 age bracket stood at 34% of the electoral lists, followed by 30% for the 31-35 age bracket. These percentages are a positive indicator of youth involvement in the candidacy process for the upcoming local elections.

The participants’ presentations included topics such as raising the awareness of electoral lists to the importance of women’s visibility in election campaigns and to avoid adopting discriminatory practices, which only increase the challenges women face. They attributed the reasons for this discrimination to a cultural environment that reinforces and encourages absenting women from partaking in public affairs. Blocking their photographs is one manifestation of this environment.

At the end of the meeting, representatives of parties and CSO’s stressed on the need to combat discriminatory practices against women in local elections through binding legal texts. This, they maintained, requires a dialogue on the amendment of the Local Elections Law No. 10 of 2005 and its amendments, especially in regards to lowering the candidacy age, increasing the women’s quota and other issues related to practices that discriminate against women, including blocking their photos. They said this called for a review of the civil premise of the law, based on the values of equal opportunities for both sexes.

The participants also agreed to send a statement to the electoral lists, underscoring the need to abide by electoral norms and not adopt any practices that discriminate against women. They called for opening opportunities to women to be more involved in their communities’ issues and to represent the sectors they defend. The participants stressed on the need for the media to combat any form of discrimination against women in the electoral process and to raise public awareness to the importance of women’s political participation in this process.

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