June 11, 2018 Sandra Pepera, Director for Gender, Women, and Democracy National Democratic Institute

Votes without Violence: Data for Democracy in Kenya

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When women are active in politics, communities prosper: women bring new perspectives, raise issues that others overlook and listen to those that others ignore. Yet despite the significant gains women have made in recent years, they still face barriers to their participation in the political arena.

To understand a problem wholly, however, we need be able to measure it, which is why it is so important to collect data on political activities, such as voter registration and history, political party engagement, campaign finance and violence during election cycles. But numbers alone do not tell the whole story. Very little sex-disaggregated data exists, meaning it is impossible to compare how women and men experience the same situation -- harassment at the polls, for example -- differently.

For this reason, the National Democratic Institute’s Gender, Women and Democracy program has launched #doubleXdata, an initiative dedicated to gathering new women-specific data and highlighting relevant data sources that already exist. The goal is to track whether we are indeed moving towards equality, women’s empowerment and more resilient democracies.Elections themselves provide a wealth of data. Since violence against women in elections is one of the most serious barriers to women’s political participation around the world, NDI has been measuring the types of electoral violence women experience, the perpetrators and its impact. The NDI Votes Without Violence project has examined violence against women in elections in almost a dozen countries, most recently in Kenya, which held elections on August 8, 2017.

See what we learned about violence against women during those elections on NDI’s Votes Without Violence Kenya edition.

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