Political Party Recruitment System for Women

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Political Party Recruitment System for Women

IKAT US Component 1 lead by Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia (Kemitraan) and in partnership with the NDI for International Affairs along with regional partners: Indonesian Women's Coalition (KPI), Persatuan Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) from Malaysia, Women's Caucus from Timor Leste, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), the Center for Popular Empowerment from the Philippines work together to strengthen representative democracy and the political rights of women by advocating the promotion of women's political representation through regional partnership initiatives.

At the moment, Kemitraan in collaboration with its regional partners are conducting regional research projects on several topics. One of them is the analysis of the current political party's recruitment system that promotes more women into the candidacy list as well as the parties' organizational leadership structure.  On this topic, the focus was on the analysis of the current political party recruitment system in Indonesia, Timor-Leste and the Philippines. The research has been conducted since September and is expected to finish in the end of December 2012.  To sharpen and enrich the result of the research, Kemitraan with iKNOW Politics is conducting this E-Discussion Circle from 26 November to 15 December 2012.

There are four main questions that this research seeks to answer, which include:

(1) Do cultural and/or societal factors explain the fact that certain female candidates get recruited by political parties and eventually elected by the electorates? What makes some women politicians successful while others are not?;

(2) On the part of the candidates, what motivates/causes candidates (especially female candidates) to decide whether or not to run for office and therefore approach (or let themselves to be approached by) the political party’s leadership?;

(3) On the part of the political party leaderships, what factors do they consider when they are selecting female candidates to be nominated? What factors are considered when filling leadership positions within the party?;

(4) Do electoral factors explain the fact that certain female candidates got recruited by political parties and eventually elected by the electorates? Does a particular election system affect the chance of female candidates being recruited and eventually elected? What electoral features increase the probability of female candidates winning seats in the parliament?

Thank you in advance for your comments, inputs and feedbacks.

 

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Amina Alrasheed Nayel A Professor's picture

cultural social legaland political factors all influence women inclusion in politics, beside other cross cutting edges of class position, age, ethnicity and geographic location, all contributed towards allowing space or limiting the space for women to participate in politics.
we need first to understand the nature of the political parties in question and the cultural setting under which these parties emerged, in order to be able to understand why women were given or not given access to politics in such setting. Factors as lack of accountability, affirmative actions and responsible political institutions all lead to the current poor representation of women in politics. The class structure should as well be highlighted as crucial in giving access to specific starta of women, and how the politics they pursue would enhance the discourse of exclusion for rural and poor women. the power structure allows limited access to women in politics to be representative of the wide majority of women.

yohan11's picture

1- Do cultural and/or societal factors explain the fact that certain female candidates get recruited by political parties and eventually elected by the electorates? What makes some women politicians successful while others are not?;
In most societies throughout the world the patriarcal system dominates the social systems. Therefore, for women to be recruited, by political parties, Is just to present a facade of progressivism. Nevertheless, it is a step that every chosen woman should take to work on women's issues as much as possible and also to prove that women are as good leaders as men.

2- On the part of the candidates, what motivates/causes candidates (especially female candidates) to decide whether or not to run for office and therefore approach (or let themselves to be approached by) the political party’s leadership?;
I believe that it is a personal approach. In certain areas of the world, it is a real emotional struggle and a serious battle on the ground for women to be accepted in the political arena before thinking about being elected. Women involve in politics everywhere in the world are strong-minded and very motivated ones. The kind of individuals who can fight for an ideal.

3-On the part of the political party leaderships, what factors do they consider when they are selecting female candidates to be nominated? What factors are considered when filling leadership positions within the party?;
Most of the time, women in political are chosen because they are advocates of a particular issue. As I mentioned earlier, political parties nominate women because that will look good, and also because these women are popular, appreciated by their respective communities and cannot be ignored. I guess, it is the same thing for men.

4-Do electoral factors explain the fact that certain female candidates got recruited by political parties and eventually elected by the electorates? Does a particular election system affect the chance of female candidates being recruited and eventually elected? What electoral features increase the probability of female candidates winning seats in the parliament?
Absolutely. Electoral factors play a lot in female candidates recruited by political parties. How a particular election system affect the chance of female candidates, I really don't know.
BUT what I do know is that for women to get involved in politics it is a long and difficult journey. It can be rewarding when there is general consensus concerning their abilities.

wbenhassine's picture

Dear all,

I wanted to first share with you an article I recently drafted regarding women's political participation in post-Ben Ali Tunisia. The article, entitled "Gender Justice in Post-Ben Ali Tunisia: Women and Political Participation," can be found at the following link: http://www.righttononviolence.org/mecf/ms-wafa-ben-hassine/

1. Do cultural and/or societal factors explain the fact that certain female candidates get recruited by political parties and eventually elected by the electorates? What makes some women politicians successful while others are not?

In Tunisia, I think once a woman gets past the stage of being recruited and run as a candidate, the vote comes down to which political party she is a member of. However, the prior steps of getting recruited and run do involve many cultural and even geographical, regional factors. A woman from the northern or coastal regions of Tunisia is much more likely to be politically aware and active simply due to the already established institutions there and the support they provide for women's involvement.

2. On the part of the candidates, what motivates/causes candidates (especially female candidates) to decide whether or not to run for office and therefore approach (or let themselves to be approached by) the political party’s leadership?;

I feel that the candidate's understanding of the toll that politics may take on her personal life and responsibilities, along with how much previous political experience she has had, determine this. Some Tunisian women have been raised in a culture of politics (this holds especially true within the "Dustour" ranks), and this encourages them to dive right in when afforded the chance. Her perception of her own public image as a woman in politics also influences this decision.

3. On the part of the political party leaderships, what factors do they consider when they are selecting female candidates to be nominated? What factors are considered when filling leadership positions within the party?

As mentioned by the post above mine, in Tunisia, I also feel that some parties only recruit women to put on a facade of progressivism. Unfortunately, we have yet to reach the point where real ISSUES and political platforms determine who gets recruited and does not.

4. Do electoral factors explain the fact that certain female candidates got recruited by political parties and eventually elected by the electorates? Does a particular election system affect the chance of female candidates being recruited and eventually elected? What electoral features increase the probability of female candidates winning seats in the parliament?

Yes. I think one feature that helped women get recruited in Tunisia was the 50/50 gender rule (on all lists). One mistake, however, that hindered women candidates prospects of winning, was that the rule did not specify that the HEADS of lists should be 50/50 (as opposed to only the list as a whole). As a result, most of the heads of lists were men, and because it is usually the head of a list that wins the election, the election results were overwhelmingly dominated by men.

Jerusaambira's picture

The recruitment of female candidates by political parties is largely based on the women's position in the society.Those who are rich and come from prominent families stand a better chance to be recruited by political parties even if they have no strong leadership qualities. This is the case particularly in Africa where leaders are elected because of their wealth. In the Western countries leaders are elected because of their ideals for the country. If a political party is to choose a between a woman who has an association with a former president and another who is an ordinary citizen, they will choose the former. Attributes such as leadership capability are not considered.However even with the support of a political party a woman should be strong willed in order to succeed in he political arena because this is a male dominated field the world over.

a number of factors influence the motivation of people to run for political offices.In my country Kenya this may be poor leadership by the current office holder,a drive to be a politician and ride in high places, desire to bring change in the social and economic status of the people or just to get to a better paying position. Women mostly get motivated to run for office by the desire to improve the status of their people. Other factors come in later.

An election system can affect the chance of recruitment and eventual election of women. If an election system is silent on gender balance then very few women will get elected to office,since the men have the power and means to get their.

Merita's picture

1- Introduction

The empowerment of women in politics and elections in Cambodia refers to strengthening, promoting and protecting women’s participation in elections either to be voters or candidates, political decision-making participation, duty fulfilment and sufficient rights through providing equal opportunities and ensuring equitable representation of men and women as elected officials in ‘political empowerment and decision-making’.

Cambodia has a pronounced inequality of representation and practice of rights between men and women. In part this issue is comes from a lack of clear policy or special mechanism for supporting and providing opportunities for women to participate in all levels of government in accord with CEDAW convention. This is compounded by issues arising from Khmer tradition and a culture that place a lower value on women than men in all sectors of society. Poverty, discrimination, lack of encouragement and opportunities afforded women are all obstacles to women gaining equality and benefitting from political participation and social affairs.

2- Political party recruitment system for women candidate

The Major political parties that have seats in the National Assembly (NA) and the Commune/Sangkat Council raised similar points related to candidate nomination, reporting that nominating a candidate was dependent on their ability, popularity, level of commitment and established political background. Some parties did not want remark percentage of women 30% or 40% due to it seemed obstructions for women; they wanted to reinforce women as more as possible. Some parties reported that listing women candidate on the first rank and alternative candidates was difficult as they did not see females’ ‘ability’. Such ambiguity is a huge obstacle for female candidates aiming to stand for elections.

For instance, prior to the 3rd mandate commune/sangkat council elections 2012 and registration of political parties and list of candidates running in the election, the prime minister Hun Sen and other senior ministers publicly encouraged political parties to place female candidates at the top of their party lists to be elected for Commune Council and National Assembly Elections (2012 and 2013). It must be noted that a verbal recommendation is not the same as a concrete written policy. Encouragement was also given by the NGO working group, “Women for All”, whose 12 organisations comprise Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL), Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC) , Women for Prosperity (WfP), Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC), Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI), SILAKA, Cambodia Women for Peace and Development (CWPD),Women Media Center (WMC), AMARA, Bantey Srey, PYD and interested stakeholders and donors. Women for All have augmented campaigned and lobbied the National Election Committee (NEC) and political parties to place women at the top of their candidate lists at least 30% or alternate men and women on the electoral lists to ensure that women could be elected and to build capacity and confidence in competing commune council election seats. COMFREL’s own a program “Women Can Do It and Empowerment of Women in Decision making and in Politics” trained 1,107 female trainees over 41 sessions in implementing local activities in 5 target provinces.

Even though, the number of female candidates has gradually increased from one mandate to another, number are still low, especially women at the top of the party lists.

COMFREL’s evaluation report on the commune/sangkat council election of 2012 revealed that acts of intimidation against women who opposed the Government left women truly afraid to become involved with opposition parties. Female candidates and political parties told observers that discrimination against women was largely during the candidate selection process and nominee elections in the parties (internal party).

Some political parties raised the challenges of finding women with the requisite abilities to participate in politics; even when women had received training on leadership in politics and the electoral process by NGOs. NGOs submitted lists of trainees’ to all political parties holding seats in the National Assembly from which they could select potential candidates. However, political parties accepted only 1 out of 3 trained candidates for the commune/sangkat council elections.

Other factors were searched putting women candidates at the top of the candidate lists was against men candidates.

Parties, including the second leading opposition Human Rights Party (HRP) raised about the selection of male or female candidates for its candidate lists, in accordance with the internal democratic policy, political party members of each commune/sangkat constituency officially voted for candidates for its candidate lists. Using its internal democratic policy without affirmative actions in promoting women in politics really caused a challenge for female candidates, which was party’ members did not trust to vote for female candidates. Hence, HRP had a few female elected, only 1.50% (12 persons) in total of 800 elected officials (The official election result of NEC for the third mandate Commune/Sangkat Council Elections 2012).

The Ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) process of selecting candidates is to nominate candidates by a party member vote in each commune/sangkat. However, the results of this process are not revealed to commune/sangkat party members, rather, selections are made at the district/khan if not national level.

Otherwise, the first leading opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) gives priority to its local party branches (commune level) to select candidates, but due to the lack of first rank female candidates nominated interventions were made by womens’ movement leaders. In this instance the procedure with intervention of national level party officials including policy increased the number of female elected candidates like CPP and SRP.

3- Recommendations

To raise gender equality and the empowerment of women in politics, some issues should be dealt with:
1) Identify its political parties’ policies on Quota
Quotas are effective solutions which enhance political parties to place female candidates on its candidate lists. The political parties could be encouraged to create quotas in political parties as well as in legal frameworks is about law amendment for elections. This law amendment should be improved more criterions of political parties registration which was needed quota 30% and sandwiches system, and should be create policy for state’s funding provided fund to which parties have implemented law. State’s funding should be approved from national finance providing to political parties for capacity development to candidates, especially female candidates in politics and elections. Because the electoral system in Cambodia is a party list or proportional system, people vote for one party. Wining candidates are taken from party list. In Cambodia the party leaders are decision making whether insert the candidates (men or women) into the party list for elections.
2) Building Women’s abilities
It is a need to encourage female candidates and elected females through short capacity development to increase confidences and effectiveness after elections. There should be
training to potential women leaders and next generation female political activists.

Using Quotas to Increase Women Political Representation in the World!

Written by:
Sonket Sereyleak (Mrs.)
Education and Gender Coordinator of
Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

igohe's picture

Hi Sonke,

Thanks for the good paper, i wondering how are you addressing the issue of corruption in electoral process in connection with women participation in political parties. I have see how women are still suffering despite their courage and ability to run for elected leadership posts. I will be happy to learn from you or your organization.

Thanks

bsusanti's picture

The following is the case in Indonesia, and from my observation (not based on statistics)

Cultural and/or societal factors explain the fact that certain female candidates get recruited by political parties. There are provisions in the electoral laws regarding female membership and female officials in the party structure, also provisions regarding female candidates in the system, but in reality there are female candidates who were recruited because of her family background and/or her family's role in the society. I certainly cannot generalize given the fact that Indonesia is very large, but there are many cases showing this tendency. That said, there are also cases where the roles of female political party members/candidates are determined based on their gender role.

What makes some women politicians successful while others are not? If not because of their background or network, women politicians have to work harder (but I think this is the case for almost all types of work in the society, sadly) than the work of male politicians. They have to be able to balance their society-expected roles as women.

(2) On the part of the candidates, what motivates/causes candidates (especially female candidates) to decide whether or not to run for office and therefore approach (or let themselves to be approached by) the political party’s leadership? Party background, possiblity to be elected, possible benefit for them.

(3) On the part of the political party leaderships, what factors do they consider when they are selecting female candidates to be nominated? What factors are considered when filling leadership positions within the party? Usually the popularity of the candidates and how the candidacy would benefit the party (can be for the network, image, etc)

(4) Do electoral factors explain the fact that certain female candidates got recruited by political parties and eventually elected by the electorates? I believe so. Debates on the Indonesian electoral law changes reflect this.