Women still a rare part of world's parliaments

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Women still a rare part of world's parliaments

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AS MEXICO’S NATIONAL congress assembled this past weekend, women occupied 47.8 percent of the seats in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, and 49.2 percent of the seats in the Senate. The July elections that voted in the Congress also saw Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo win the election for Mexico City’s mayor, marking the first time a woman has won the vote to lead North America’s largest city.

Yet women in positions of power are still a rare find on the global political map. This, despite more countries introducing so-called "gender quotas," rules that dictate a percentage of seats in a parliament – usually at least 30 percent – be filled by women based on specific criteria. These requirements are mentioned in countries' constitutions or in the electoral laws. According to data from the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance, currently more than 30 countries have a gender quota mentioned in their constitution.

"The world average today is 23.8 percent of women (in parliaments) worldwide," says Kareen Jabre, director of the division of programs at the Switzerland-based Inter-Parliamentary Union or IPU, an organization made up of national parliaments from around the world that aims to spur political dialogue. "In the past two years there has been relatively modest progress in terms of world average where we had just an 0.5 percentage-point increase. But in previous years we did have some bumps of 1 to 2 percentage points increase, so the trend is positive."

Click here to read the full article published by US News on 4 September 2018.

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