LATIN America is the region with the biggest advances made in terms of gender equality in its parliaments, according to a new report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The region of the Americas now has the highest regional average number of women parliamentarians in the world, the IPU report released on Thursday, March 5 in Geneva noted.
The report stressed that, “The region has witnessed the greatest progress in the world with the percentage of women MPs rising from 12.7 per cent in 1995 to 26.4 per cent in 2015 – an increase of 13.7 percentage points.”
In 1995 there was not a single country in the region that had over 30% of women parliamentarians in their single or lower house of parliament.
In 2015, there are now nine such countries. In addition, three countries have more than 40% women MPs and one country – Bolivia – has surpassed the 50% mark with 53.1% of all parliamentarians being women, the report noted.
The three countries from the Americas that feature in the top 10 of the IPU world rankings for 2015 are Bolivia, Cuba and Ecuador, with Bolivia, Dominica, Panama and Colombia making the greatest gains in the number of women MPs in 2014.
Over the past 20 years, Ecuador has seen the largest increase in the region, with women’s representation rising by 37.1 percentage points to reach 41.6% in 2015.
There was a more modest increase in the United States, which saw the percentage of women legislators rise from 10.9% in 1995 to 19.3% in 2015.
The report stressed that although the percentage of women parliamentarians in the world has almost doubled in the last 20 years, ambitious and concerted political action is required to overcome the slow progress on equality globally.
Since 1995, when the Beijing Platform for Action on women’s empowerment was adopted, the global average of women in parliament has increased from 11.3% to 22.1%.
Women MPs have gained ground in nearly 90% of the 174 countries for which data was available for the 1995-2015 period, he IPU indicated.
At first glance, the IPU’s annual analysis of statistics and trends regarding women in parliament, which is released ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8th, and which this year provides an overview on the progress and setbacks witnessed since the Beijing Platform, is encouraging. (Notimex-Cubadebate)