Image credit: International IDEA
Monitoring the participation of women and youth in Bolivia’s national elections
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Bolivian women and youth have launched a campaign, termed #PROTAGONISTAS: Parity – Power - Youth with the aim that the decision-making capability of these two segments of the population will transcend across to the ballot boxes. This is an initiative undertaken by the Coordinadora de la Mujer alongside its affiliated institutions and the Articulación Nacional de Organizaciones Sociales y de Mujeres, in partnership with International IDEA, and with the support of the Swedish Embassy.
Following the last national election in 2014, Bolivia ranks second in the world when it comes to parity democracy; nonetheless there is still a long way to go before women can exercise real power. The passage from an official democracy to parity democracy is one of the main demands of Bolivian women. “It is not enough to have the same opportunities as men to attain power; we need the same conditions in order to exercise it. Even though, we have achieved 50/50 parity in official terms as part of our political rights, we remain on the margins of political power,” states part of the Women’s Political Agenda, a document developed by a diverse and pluralistic organization of women throughout the whole of the country, after a process entailing highly participative and lengthy discussions.
Likewise, youth platforms from five autonomous regions reached a consensus on a document in which they point out the need to have more active participation in national and regional planning processes, integrating their vision and proposals in the Bolivian state’s plans, programmes and projects.
#Protagonistas: Parity – Power – Youth is a campaign that highlights the role that women and youth play as fundamental stakeholders in Bolivia’s leadership and democracy, ahead of general elections in 2019 and regional elections in 2020. It is a call for awareness, on the one hand, in the agendas put forward by women and youth organizations, and on the other, a demand on all political organizations, irrespective of ideologies, to listen to these voices and take them into account in their proposals so that the country can develop in a more inclusive manner.
Accurate and timely information conducive to decision making is available to society as a whole through the website <www.protagonistas.cm.org.bo>, social networks and a number of online and offline activities. The electoral climate represents a huge opportunity for women and youth organizations in Bolivia to collectively bring about measures that impact the transformation of a, as of yet, exclusionary society. Additionally, for decision makers, a scenario is opened up to show political willingness for greater democratization in democracy itself.