For the first time in history, women occupy seats in all parliaments in the world, although gender parity in those assemblies is still far and could take up to another 80 years, according to a report by the World Interparliamentary Union (UIP).
The Cameroonian Martin Chungong, general secretary of the UIP, said as an obstacle to moving towards parliamentary equity is ‘the climate of sexism, harassment and violence against women who are witnessing throughout the world.’
“It is a generalized phenomenon worldwide and is not endemic to any particular region. And we can estimate that it is taking its toll on the participation of women in political life, ”added Chungong.
How was this result achieved?
On the positive side, the participation of women in parliaments and political life in many nations is more diverse than ever, said the UIP, according to data from the 47 countries that celebrated elections last year.
In those elections, women positioned themselves with 25.8% of the available seats, an increase of 2.3% since the last time the elections were held.
But this is the lowest increase in female participation in six years, and with an increase of only 0.4% in their occupation of seats, the global percentage of women in parliamentary positions stood at 26.5% in early 2023.
At that rate, another 80 years will be needed to achieve gender parity in the parliaments of the world, Chungong admitted.
The UIP report informs of a ‘generalized and growing’ trend of harassment, sexism and violence against women, which deters them from participating in the political processes of their countries.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian Lesia Vasylenko, president of the UIP Parliamentary Women’s Office, stressed that each elected woman ‘approaches one more step to parliaments towards greater inclusion and representativeness, and it is great to see greater diversity.’
But “in general, progress is too slow and half of the world’s population is still extremely underrepresented. It is urgent to change this situation to strengthen democracy everywhere, ”said Vasylenko.
Among the encouraging signals that the IPU collects is that Brazil registered a record number of 4,829 women who identified themselves as black, of a total of almost 27,000 candidates, in the general elections of last year.
In the United States, a record 263 women of colour was run for elections to Congress. And in Colombia, the LGBTQI+ representation tripled (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans and others), from two to six congressmen.
In France, 32 women minority candidates were chosen for the new National Assembly, which represents a historical record of 5.8% of the total.
New Zealand joined club last year
Six countries worldwide now have gender parity, thanks to the fact that New Zealand joined the club last year, which also includes Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Nicaragua and Rwanda.
Rwanda occupies the first place, with more than 60% of the seats occupied by women in the lower house. However, even there, women only occupy 34.6% of the seats of the upper house.
Notable advances in Australia were achieved (the strongest result of the year with a 56.6 % record of seats earned by women in the Senate), Colombia, Slovenia, Equatorial Guinea and Malta.
A record number of women was chosen for the Japan Senate, historically dominated by men; But in India, the elections to the upper house led women to occupy only 15.1 % of the seats, well below the world and regional averages.
The Pacific had the highest growth rate on female representation, earning 1.7 percentage points for an average of 22.6% of parliamentary women. Each Pacific Parliament now has at least one legislator.
Women’s representation is stagnating
In the 15 European cameras that were renewed in 2022, there were few changes in the representation of women, stagnating at 31%.
In the Middle East and North Africa region, seven cameras were renewed in 2022. On average, women were chosen for 16.3% of the seats, the lowest regional percentage in the world for the elections held in the year.
Three countries were below 10%: Algeria (upper house: 4.3%), Kuwait (6.3%) and Lebanon (6.3%).
An important aspect is that of women’s quotas (or of surrender sex) provided for in the constitutions or electoral laws in the list of candidacies. In countries where they were implemented last year, women obtained up to 31% of the seats compared to 21% in previous years.
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