KATHMANDU, Nov 17: For the first time in the history of election in Nepal, a report is being prepared by the Election Commission based on gender monitoring during the overall Constituent Assembly (CA) election process.
Unlike during the earlier elections, the report is expected to come up with gender breakdown analysis on the overall aspects of women candidates, election officers, staffs and voters, identifying their unique needs.
The report will not only rate the country´s gender inclusiveness in a very important democratic process like election but is also expected to provide overall picture of how fair the election remained.
Led by the National Women Commission (NWC), 31 organizations have been working on the assessment of gender inclusiveness in the process since one and half month which will be wrapped up on the day of election. Seven hundred male and female supervisors involved in the process would be present at the 240 constituencies to ´provide gender perspective to election atmosphere at the booths´ as well, NWC informed.
“A systematic assessment of gender inclusiveness in the entire process of election is being prepared by the EC, which has obviously happened for the first time in the country´s history. This work is led by women commission and 31 organizations are involved,” said Ila Sharma, election commissioner. “This is a break away from male dominated observation or monitoring of the election process. So it would be a very important document in itself,” she added.
Sharma added that there have been few remarkable developments this election including 80 polling stations in 41 districts which would be managed solely by female staffers. “This is very interesting. Female administrators´ competencies will come to the fore. They should take it as a challenge,” she said.
Sharma further clarified that EC could not deploy sufficient number of women officials in the process due to fewer women in civil service and education sector. “However, the commission has made every effort to make polling stations women-friendly in every way.”
Meanwhile, Monha Ansari, spokesperson at NWC begged to state that "the supervisors deployed for the survey at various constituencies are not impressed."
According to Ansari, though it would take few more weeks to prepare the final report on gender monitoring, reports from various constituencies and polling stations expose the lack of preparedness on the part of the EC to make the polling process gender-friendly. “For instance, a booth in Nuwakot district is located in such a height that it is near impossible for pregnant women and disabled people to reach there to vote.
There are many such polling centers throughout the country. Similarly, there is absolute lack of toilet at such stations, which may not make much difference to male voters but is quite an issue for female voters,” she said.
Monha added that apart from analysis of other parts of electoral process, there is a questionnaire to be filled by election officer, staffs, female and male voters during the election day. “And this will cover multiple aspects, from gender inclusiveness to fairness in the election as well.”