<strong>Political campaigning and women candidates</strong>

Political campaigning and women candidates

It is one of the pre-election processes: Campaigning. It is a process in which political parties, parties, and private candidates promote themselves and win the hearts and minds of the voters or the electorate. Campaigning is the art of persuasion to get alternative voters and to sell political ideas. It is an important activity of any election as it provides an opportunity for politicians to introduce themselves to the public and explain their plans.

Konjit Berhan, a politician, and author says there is work to be done at least a year in advance of the election campaign. Campaigning must be cost-effective, efficient, organized, and well-planned. To be effective, participants need to develop a variety of skills, including persuasion. It is also part of a campaign that politicians should focus on, social and conventional media. 

Candidates report that in the 2013 general election, which showed a significant increase in the number of female candidates, the campaign had both opportunities and challenges. Kauser Idris of the EZEMA party said that the time extension of the 2021 national elections due to COVID-19 helped them to plan their campaigns well. She did not hide the fact that there were various challenges when it comes to campaigning, especially for women candidates. 

One of the main problems was assertiveness and self-confidence. ” even competent, and active women politicians and candidates lack the skills of public speaking and persuasion to campaign” Kauser Idris said effectively. Therefore, more efforts need to be done to bring in women and build capacity. She said that this would change the perception of society and would be a good way for women to participate in politics more efficiently.

Konjit, who has been involved in politics for more than 30 years, says that in Ethiopia, small issues are more prevalent than in discussions and consultations. Politics, rather than national interests and ideas, has been a focus. As a result, campaigning is likely to be challenging.

Of course, there are many who say that the Ethiopian political system has always been difficult and challenging. Konjit Birhanu also agreed and noted that this was not a gender issue but a political one, adding that the pressure was on women.

In light of the challenges faced by women during the election campaign and in the electoral process as a whole, Konjit says everyone should focus on the solutions. Economic empowerment, changing the attitudes of the community, including women, and preparing and working ahead of the elections is key to the way forward.

Women face more scrutiny in campaigns. Their overall appearance is often criticized, rather than their ideas. This is especially true on social media. 

Girum Tesema participated in the election as an observer of the Prosperity Party. He shared with us what he has seen and heard about women’s advocacy. Explaining at the polling station of their choice and their experience in the area, he noted that women candidates were seen as support at the campaign, not a candidate. 

He said the election campaign was open to the public and required self-confidence. “If women can achieve this with confidence, this election will be a great lesson and will help bring about better change in the future,” he said.

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