31 Agosto 2015

 

 

Who ever said, working with stakeholders to increase the number of women elected to the National Parliament of Suriname would be an elusive dream?  

After the 2010 national elections, Suriname witnessed a dramatic drop in the number of women elected to its National Assembly. The number dropped from 25.9 percent in 2005 to 9.8 percent in 2010.  UNDP, with support from the speaker of the National Assembly and other partners such as the embassy of the Netherlands, and local NGOs embarked on a campaign to secure more women members of Parliament in the 2015 national elections.  

Not only was the campaign successful; it has resulted in approximately 13 women (25.4%) directly being chosen by the electorate on 25th May. Formation of the Government is ongoing and some MPs might become Ministers, this would mean that at least 2 more women will move up to become Parliamentarians; bringing the total number of female MPs to 15 (30%).   

With support from UNDP,  a total of 17 female politicians were trained and equipped with the requisite capacities to mount public campaigns. Each of the women in turn, served as mentors to an additional 3-5 women who lobbied for a place on the list of selectees for the various political parties contesting the national elections. 5 of the 17 women who participated in the UNDP intervention got placed on the ballot and ultimately 3 got elected. 

For these elections, UNDP, the Parliament and the OOKZIJ (translation from Dutch: “she too”) campaign did something quite unconventional by placing all the female candidates on a billboard, irrespective of their  political affiliation and called upon the public to vote for a woman.  The campaign was highly successful and in every district, women won seats.  

Although the intervention was small, it had huge impact.  For the first time, the public could see billboards with the face of their female candidates.  Such recognition and the accompanying message of "she too" resonated with the electorate.  

UNDP is proud of its achievements and is already in consultation with the speaker of Parliament, a woman, to continue the programme and to provide ongoing support to the female members of the National Assembly.

 

Source: Meriam Hubard, UNDP Suriname
Image: Reeza Danoe Photography