Why women should be protected during elections
The value of political equality is central to normative theories of democracy; it is argued that women are also citizens by birth. Thus, there is a need for gender equality. Since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, women have been contributing to electoral processes, yet not many of them hold elective positions. But the major problem is the violence against women. In the just concluded primaries, female aspirants faced more challenges compared to their male counterparts. Recently, the National Democratic Institute designed and launched a campaign titled: “Stop Violence Against Women in Election” with the aim of documenting and reporting cases of violence against women during elections. In spite of all these, women are still facing violence on daily basis. Violence against women takes different forms and dimensions. The violence can be physical, psychological or sexual.
There is no gainsaying that violence against women is a threat to the integrity of the electoral process. It can affect women’s participation as voters, candidates, election observers, activists and political party leaders. Therefore, there is a need for women to be inclusive in the democratic process in Nigeria. For this to happen, stakeholders must develop new strategies in promoting peaceful and violence-free elections. Also, women should be encouraged to report issues of violence against them to the appropriate authorities.