Bracing for 2023: #Agender35
By Adefunke Onafuye
Some people argue that democracy is flawed, but the beauty of it is the opportunity it gives us to make better- or worse- electoral decisions every four years and if the events of the last quarter have taught us anything, it’s that we need to brace ourselves for 2023 and beyond. Not only do we need to vote, but we also need to RUN.
ElectHER as an organization is not an ally to any political parties, only to people who are committed to good governance, an important allyship for the preservation and progression of democracy. In our previous article where we wrote about winning back our democracy, we highlighted the importance of unprejudiced financing to support credible candidates who do not have the financial resources to compete fairly.
Over the last two decades, we have seen a decline in the interest and involvement of technocrats in politics and governance. Understandable, as reputational risk remains an obstacle for those who are willing. Nonetheless, we need intelligent, experienced, and farsighted people taking seats at decision-making tables. For every cycle of governance that we lose to bad leadership, there are socio-economic problems that will take decades to correct, and we therefore have to commit to being the change.
To this end, we have created #Agender35 in our commitment to empowering 1000 women to run for office and directly backing 35 women in 2023 by preparing them for both elective and appointive office, a mandate borne out of the dire need for equitable representation in leadership. #Agender35 is informed by a three-point agenda to Fund, Advocate and Engage.
So far in the history of Nigerian politics, elections have mostly run-on prejudiced money, causing the welfare of citizens to take the back seat and the interests of women are placed even farther behind. We need more women in politics and governance. The WomenforWomen Fund, a sub-fund, was created to crowdsource $1 million from Nigerian women as a way of building financial capacity and vested interest in politics. We encourage Donate-Demand-Pledge-Promote as an end-to-end engagement for by standing women. Alongside funding, we are actively involved in policy advocacy with the aim of achieving a women’s quota representation of 35% in elective and appointive office. Currently, women’s representation across parliament is pegged at 4.1%.
At the very core of it all is citizen engagement – to familiarize citizens with credible, willing and capable women before 2023. Elections in this region of the world are largely skewed to favour men as a result of a cultural disposition that influences the belief that men are leaders and women are not. Citizen engagement is not only aimed at increasing visibility for female candidates but also reorienting citizens to acknowledge and accommodate the leadership capabilities of women, allowing for fair competition with their male counterparts. Through our learning programmes- facilitated training and Future Lawmakers Programme (coming soon), we are closing the knowledge gap and preparing women to lead.
A commitment to and a step in the direction of change, is change in itself. Join us!