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Elections

Welcome to the Knight Center’s new free online course, “Freedom of Expression, Artificial Intelligence and Elections,” organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, in collaboration with UNESCO, UNDP, and with support of the Electoral Assistance Division (EAD) of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA).

During this four-week massive open online course, which will be held during the month of April 2024, students will learn and explore the fascinating and ever-evolving world of technology and democracy, in particular on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on freedom of expression in elections. 

To register for the course please follow these steps:

  • Create an account in the Journalism Courses system. Even if you’ve taken a course with us before, you may need to create a new account. Check to see if your previous username and password work before creating a new account.
  • Wait for a confirmation in your email indicating that your account has been created. If you do not receive this, please check your spam folder.
  • Once your account is created and confirmed, please click on the following link to enroll: https://www.kccourses.org/enrol/index.php?id=121.
  • Click “Enroll” to enroll yourself in the course. You will be able to access the course from the “My Courses” menu at the top of the page.
  • Upon completing your enrollment, you will gain immediate access to the course and receive a confirmation email as well.

Who can enroll? 

  • Electoral practitioners and regulators. 
  • Journalists and media professionals. 
  • Civil society organizations working on elections, human rights, and gender equality. 
  • Students and educators.
  • Voters and citizens interested in understanding AI and its impact on democracy.

To register for the course, click here.

Female MEPs have been warned of the threat of deep-fake explicit images being used against them in the upcoming elections.

There are now serious concerns that women running in the EU elections could be targeted with AI generated nude photographs or fake videos of them in compromising positions.

Sitting MEP Maria Walsh described the prospect of deep-fakes as "terrifying" and has urged voters to be aware of AI generated content that may be used to discredit candidates.

"It's about having conversations, educating people about what is real and what is not and it's really to be aware of the impact AI has and can have on politics," she said.

She added: "It is terrifying, I'm not going to lie. I would be nervous as a young female politician."

Read here the full article published by the Irish Examiner on 8 April 2024.

Image source: Irish Examiner

In India, as in many democracies around the world, there has long been a discernible gender gap in citizens’ political participation. For decades, Indian men were significantly more likely to cast their ballots on election day compared to women. It is noteworthy, therefore, that in the country’s 2019 general election, the historic gap between male and female turnout came to an end; for the first time on record, women voters turned out to vote at higher rates than men (see figure 1). Predictions for India’s upcoming 2024 general election suggest that this trend is likely to continue.

Figure 1

Although the gap between male and female voter turnout in India has been gradually shrinking in recent years, the convergence in electoral participation is nevertheless surprising for multiple reasons. First, as noted by Franziska Roscher, the increase in female turnout in India is occurring while female labor force participation—an important driver of women’s political participation—remains low compared to peer economies. Second, national-level data from the National Election Study (NES), conducted by the Lokniti Program of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, and other smaller studies confirm that women lag men across all measures of nonelectoral political engagement. For instance, data from two separate primary surveys—conducted in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by political scientists Soledad Prillaman and Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner, respectively—demonstrate that while the gender gap in voter turnout has closed, gaps are all too visible in other forms of sustained political engagement, such as contacting elected representatives, attending public meetings, and participating in campaign activities. Third, women continue to be underrepresented in India’s national parliament and its state assemblies.

Read here the full article published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on 5 April 2024.

Image source: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

Washington —  When Suriya Bibi was running for a seat earlier this year on the Khyber Pakhtunkwa provincial assembly, she faced numerous challenges beyond being a woman and hailing from a minority sect in Pakistan's remote district of Chitral.

Another obstacle appeared when the Election Commission randomly assigned a hen symbol as her identifier on ballot papers — such symbols are tools to aid illiterate voters. In January, Pakistan's Supreme Court barred her political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, from using the cricket bat symbol associated with former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The hen symbol inadvertently perpetuated the stereotype that women in Chitral were better suited for poultry farming than politics. Her opponents capitalized on their good luck, ridiculing her and mocking the symbol's association with domesticity.

In a phone interview with VOA, Bibi said that there was no shame in poultry farming and rejected the attempt to diminish her worth based on her election symbol.

Read here the full article published by Voice of America on 23 March 2024.

Image source: Voice of America

It’s presidential campaign season in Senegal’s capital city and all over town the candidates’ faces beam down at voters from posters tacked to light poles and plastered on billboards. Eighteen people are running, and at times, their images seem to blend together: a sea of older men in dark, dour suits. But one face stands out.

In her pastel blue headwrap and green dress, Anta Babacar Ngom cuts a strikingly different figure. For one thing, at 40 years old she’s a generation younger than many of the other candidates. For another, she’s a she.

Although no one expects Ms. Ngom to become the next president, her presence in the race speaks to the increasingly forceful role of women in the politics of Senegal, which has one of the highest percentages of female legislators in the world.

Read here the full article published by The Christian Science Monitor on 22 March 2024.

Image source: The Christian Science Monitor

NEW DELHI: With more women participating in voting than ever before and even dominating political discourse within their households, they now find themselves at the forefront of various schemes and policies announced by political parties ahead of elections.

Aam Aadmi Party govt announced Mahila Samman Yojana in the budget, promising a monthly stipend of Rs 1,000 to women above 18 years of age, and proudly promotes their free travel in public buses.

Similarly, BJP recently launched the ‘Lakhpati Didi’ programme, aiming to make women financially self-reliant while promoting various other women-centric schemes implemented in recent years. This is perhaps the first time that BJP has fielded two women candidates in the capital.

Political analysts agree that with a higher voter turnout in parliamentary as well as assembly polls in recent elections, women will now drive the narrative ahead of all elections.

Click here to read the full article published by The Times of India on 18 March 2024.

Image source: The Times of India

In India, as in many democracies around the world, there has long been a discernible gender gap in citizens’ political participation. For decades, Indian men were significantly more likely to cast their ballots on election day compared to women. It is noteworthy, therefore, that in the country’s 2019 general election, the historic gap between male and female turnout came to an end; for the first time on record, women voters turned out to vote at higher rates than men (see figure 1). Predictions for India’s upcoming 2024 general election suggest that this trend is likely to continue.

Figure 1

Although the gap between male and female voter turnout in India has been gradually shrinking in recent years, the convergence in electoral participation is nevertheless surprising for multiple reasons. First, as noted by Franziska Roscher, the increase in female turnout in India is occurring while female labor force participation—an important driver of women’s political participation—remains low compared to peer economies. Second, national-level data from the National Election Study (NES), conducted by the Lokniti Program of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, and other smaller studies confirm that women lag men across all measures of nonelectoral political engagement. For instance, data from two separate primary surveys—conducted in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by political scientists Soledad Prillaman and Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner, respectively—demonstrate that while the gender gap in voter turnout has closed, gaps are all too visible in other forms of sustained political engagement, such as contacting elected representatives, attending public meetings, and participating in campaign activities. Third, women continue to be underrepresented in India’s national parliament and its state assemblies.

Read here the full article published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on 5 April 2024.

Image source: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 

Introduction

Over the last twenty years, the world has witnessed significant shifts towards greater gender equality in politics, which in turn has had positive implications for democracy and society at large.

Mexico has witnessed a systematic incorporation of gender perspective, equality, and parity in public lifesignifying a transformation of women's ability to participate in the country's future. The prime example is the National Electoral Institute (INE) mandate, later ratified by the Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF), for political parties to guarantee gender parity in all upcoming gubernatorial elections of 2024: Chiapas, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, Puebla, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatán, and Mexico City.

Unfortunately, as women's participation in politics rises, an increase in political violence that explicitly targets women has also occurred. The 2020-2021 electoral process was the most violent against Mexican women.

Mexico´s political system is awash with political violence that explicitly targets and affects women, obstructs social justice, and hinders democracy. The advances in female political participation have been met with resistance as men, territorial interest groups, and political elites seemingly feel threatened by increasing female power and respond with violent actions to uphold the traditional system of politics to deter women’s independent participation.

Read here the full article published by the Wilson Center on 13 March 2024.

Image source: Wilson Center

In 1906, Finland became the first country in Europe to grant women the right to vote, with the adoption of universal suffrage, at the same time as it won its autonomy from the Russian Empire. The following year, Finnish women were able to exercise this right in the general elections. Throughout the twentieth century, women in Europe and around the world fought long and hard to gain the right to vote without any additional conditions to those required of men. In some countries, only widows were allowed to vote as a first step towards electoral emancipation (in Belgium, for example, until 1921). In other countries, such as Bulgaria, the right to vote was initially reserved for mothers of legitimate children and exclusively for local elections. In Portugal, only women with a university degree were allowed to vote from 1931 on. In Spain it was not until post-Franco democratisation and the 1976 elections that Spanish women regained the right to vote, initially acquired in 1931 before the civil war. This year France is celebrating the 80th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. Cypriot women won the right to vote at the same time as their male counterparts when the Republic was created in 1960. This can be explained quite simply by the fact that, at that time, such discrimination could no longer be justified. So, it took a good part of the twentieth century to get there...

Read here the full article published by the Foundation Robert Schuman on 5 March 2024.

Image source: Foundation Robert Schuman

Independent states in the Pacific region have the lowest levels of women’s political representation in the world. Fewer than 7% of Pacific politicians are women, compared with 27% globally. The absence of women’s voices in political decision-making has been consistently raised in regional forums, although progress has been slow. Yet, in November 2022, a milestone was reached: for the first time, there was at least one elected woman in every Pacific parliament.

Click here to read the full article published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on 17 October 2023.

Women’s representation in political offices continued to decline in the 2023 elections. Four main factors help explain why Africa’s largest economy is such a difficult space for women candidates.

Women’s representation in Nigerian politics has been on a downward slide since 2011, and the 2023 elections in Africa’s largest economy confirmed the expectations of poor outcomes for women. The number of women in Nigeria’s National Assembly has fallen by 19 percent compared to the last assembly, with women now occupying 3 percent of seats in the Senate and 4 percent in the House of Representatives.

To understand why Nigerian women performed so poorly in the recent elections, the 2022 primary elections provided insight into the challenges and barriers faced by women aspirants and candidates. The results of the various parties’ primary elections highlight enduring limitations to women’s representation in competitive politics in Nigeria. The country ranks in the bottom ten globally in women’s representation in national parliaments, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). This challenge of representation persists in spite of the near parity of voter registration between men and women in past election cycles.

Click here to read the full article published by Carnegie Endowment For Peace on 09 May 2023.

Online abuse has a profound impact on the health of democratic societies, threatening progress on diversity and representation in politics. Research has shown that abuse can deter women and individuals from minority groups from pursuing careers in politics, and drive those already engaged to step down from political life. The 2022 midterm elections in the US saw a growing number of candidates from minority backgrounds running for office. Faced with growing public pressure, social media companies took steps to amend their policies and community standards to address illegal and harmful content and behavior on their platforms. Evidence has shown, however, that abusive image and video-based content can fall through the cracks of content moderation, pointing to a lack of adequate response from social media platforms. In the run-up to the November 2022 midterm elections, ISD investigated abusive content on Instagram and TikTok targeting prominent women in US politics. Researchers analyzed hashtag recommendations served to users on both platforms when searching for content related to several key women in US politics in the days before the election. This report finds that platforms recommend abusive hashtags when people search for the names of these female political figures, and also promote abusive content that violate their own terms of service, showing that harmful and abusive content targeting women running for, and in-, office remains in plain sight of the platforms.

Click here to access the report.