Snails pace: Women in Parliament

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Despite an increase in the number of women Speakers of Parliament, the number of female parliamentarians across the world rose by only 0.5 percentage points in 2015, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) today reported, dashing hopes that gender parity in parliament could be achieved within a generation. In its annual report, Women in Parliament 2015: the Year in Review – http://www.ipu.org/pdf/publications/WIP2015-e.pdf – the IPU stated that women now account for 22.6 per cent of the world’s Members of the Parliament.

“Although this figure is an all-time high and represents the continued upward trend for women in parliament, the rate of progress in 2015 was another setback from the 1.5 percentage points witnessed in 2013,” the IPU said.

The overall growth in the past decade has been 6.4 points, and with the “snail-pace” growth rate in 2015, the IPU said the trend does little to inspire confidence the situation will change any time soon. This is particularly disappointing given the push to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030, as part of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

‘Urgent need for creative solutions and changing mindsets’

“IPU’s 2015 statistics on women in parliament underline the urgent need for creative solutions and changing mindsets if there is any chance of meeting goals on political participation and empowerment,” said IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong. In areas of success, the IPU highlighted that quotas and proportional representation systems are more effective in getting women into parliament.

The IPU report also highlights the need to tackle impediments to women running for office, such as the lack of adequate finance for their campaigns, and reiterates the critical role of political parties in changing the status quo.

 

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