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World needs more women legislators, UN boss says

By Joyce Namutebi

Added 3rd July 2018 10:52 AM

The IPU has been pushing for gender parity in politics for decades by, for example, encouraging quotas of at least 30 or 50% of women parliamentarians depending on starting points.

World needs more women legislators, UN boss says

The IPU has been pushing for gender parity in politics for decades by, for example, encouraging quotas of at least 30 or 50% of women parliamentarians depending on starting points.

GENDER PARITY IN PARLIAMENTS

UN Secretary General António Guterres' has advocated for more women parliamentarians world-wide.

Parliaments, he said, can be pillars of democracy, important defenders of human rights and can link local and global issues.  Through laws and spending decisions, they can contribute significantly to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals — our blueprint for peaceful, resilient societies on a healthy planet.

"Yet parliaments are still largely dominated by men. The world needs more women parliamentarians. As we mark this new International Day, I express my support for members of parliaments worldwide, as they strive to deliver for the people they serve," Guterres said in his  message for the International Day of Parliamentarism, observed on Saturday 30 June.

He noted that the International Day of Parliamentarism, a new United Nations observance, recognises the pivotal role played by parliaments and as a former parliamentarian, he has felt, first hand, the responsibility of representing people and trying to advance their aspirations.

For the first time, the world celebrated International Day of Parliamentarism, which is an opportunity to celebrate parliaments, as the cornerstone of democracy, and as institutions designed to improve the lives of the people they represent.

This date was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 72/278 as it coincides with the day in 1889, close to 130 years ago, that the Inter -Parliamentary Union, the global organisation of parliaments was founded.

The day is also a time to take a snapshot of the state of parliaments in 2018, to monitor progression, but also identify challenges. In an age of many problems - from climate change, mass movements of people, to the rise of populism and autocracy - the world needs its parliaments more than ever before, according to IPU.

The IPU has been pushing for gender parity in politics for decades by, for example, encouraging quotas of at least 30 or 50% of women parliamentarians depending on starting points.

Overall, there has been progress with women's average share of parliamentary membership increasing from 17% in 2007 to over % today. The group of top 10 countries with the highest number of women MPs has also become more diverse in the last 10 years: the top 10, dominated by European countries in 1998, now also includes sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

However, this trend has stagnated recently. If current rates continue, it will take at least 250 years before we reach gender parity in parliaments.

For the second year in a row, the percentage of women in parliaments has barely budged, at 23.4% in 2017 compared to 23.3 in 2016. Before 2016, annual progress was 0.6% while in 2017 it dropped to 0.1%. 

The percentage of women Heads of State stands at 7.2% in 2017: a slight increase on 6.6% in 2015.

 

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