More women joined politics in 2008, says a global report

March 6th, 2009 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, March 6 (Prensa Latina) The 143-member Inter-Parliamentarian Union Thursday said the number of women occupying seats in the legislative institutions worldwide reached record levels in 2008, with one out of every five elected members was woman.
The Women in Parliament 2008 report released by the union said of the 12,879 seats in 66 parliaments in 54 countries last year, women occupied 2,656 seats, or 20.6 percent.

In the past five years, 60 percent of the women legislators were re-elected, the report said.

Experts say these figures demonstrate a significant improvement compared to the figures 10 years ago when women representatives were merely 13 percent.

In Rwanda, majority of the seats in the Lower House of the parliament were occupied by women, representing 56.3 percent, while in Angola women occupied 37 percent of the seats.

In Latin American countries, women occupied 26.5 percent of the parliamentary seats.

The lowest number of women in politics was recorded in the Pacific Islands of Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

The report said Rwanda topped the list where more than 30 percent of the legislative seats occupied by women, with 56.3 percent, followed by Sweden with 47 percent and Cuba with 43.2 percent.

Finland, Holland, Argentina, Denmark, Angola, Costa Rica, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Mozambique, New Zealand, Iceland, Nepal and South Africa followed the top three in that order.

Namibia’s Theo-Ben Gururab, president of the Inter-Parliamentarian Union, said it was unfortunate that many countries still have very few women parliamentarians.

He said although a remarkable progress has been made in Africa (women participation in decision-making bodies) there were still lot more left to do.

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