MEN OVERSHADOWED WOMEN IN OUTDOOR CAMPAIGN ADVERTISING
Men overshadowed women in outdoor campaign advertising
Male candidates outshone female counterparts in outdoor campaign advertising. Many candidates invested in and flood their constituencies with different types of outdoor advertising materials. These included but were not limited to: Billboards, poleboards, wooden banners, posters, and in some cities, they used LED digital screens.
In the 29 districts where ACFIM monitored campaign spending, it was evident on ground that male candidates in the parliamentary races, outshone the female counterparts when it came to the spending war on outdoor advertising.
The female candidates who stood shoulder to shoulder with the male counterparts in outdoor campaign advertising included among others, Ruth Jane Acheng (Lira City), Sseninde Rosemary (Wakiso District), Annet Mugisha (Bushenyi district) and Stella Nyanzi (Kampala capital city).
Most of the female candidates who could not afford enormous fees being charged by advertising companies for space on billboards and Digital screens resorted to going for less costly materials like wooden banners “local billboards”.
One interesting thing reported by ACFIM observers was that some voters were contracted to take care of the wooden banners. They were to ensure that every morning, it’s placed in a strategic area where people would visibly see it and then in the evening taken to be kept for safety.
ACFIM established from outdoor advertising companies that one had to part with about UGX 2million ($526) per month for an ad to run 10 times a day in an outdoor LED Screen display. A standard 48 by 14 feet static billboard goes for UGX 1million ($263) on rent monthly. Such costs are too huge and cannot be managed by candidates who do have no access to multiple sources of campaign funds.
It’s now known to ACFIM that male candidates had more advantage over female candidates on outdoor advertising because they had more access to campaign resources than female candidates. This explains why they were able to out shadow the female candidates on the war of outdoor advertising.
The reality is that there are differences in access to funds and patterns of spending between male and female candidates in Uganda. Money is an essential and unavoidable part of modern-day elections, but it also creates an additional barrier for female candidates.
Although the principle of “one voice, one vote” is essential to democratic elections worldwide, access to resources makes voices of men louder than voices of women. We must find a way of emboldening female voices through access to campaign funds.