More work needed to enhance women’s parliamentary representation: report

GENEVA-- While lauding the progress made over the last decade, an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) report warned Tuesday that more measures are needed to increase the representation of women in parliaments globally.

According to statistics, the global average of women in national parliaments stood at 23.3 percent at the end of 2016, up from 22.6 percent two years ago.

This figure is a significant improvement from 10 years ago, when women only accounted for 16.8 percent of parliamentary seats.

"We must seize the opportunity to build on the successes of recent years because hard-won progress can often be fragile and readily lost, particularly at a time when engaging in politics has become ever more challenging," IPU secretary general Martin Chungong said in a statement.

"Parliaments are crucial to ensuring women are among the world's most high-profile leaders and to strengthening the policies and legislation needed to meet the goal of gender equality and women's full and equal participation at all levels by 2030," he added.

The report highlighted that gains were documented across major regions, with the Pacific topping the list with a 1.6 percent increase in women in parliament (17.4 percent by the end of 2016).

Lower gains were also recorded in Europe and the Americas (both 0.9 percent), Arab States and Asia (both 0.5 percent), and sub-Saharan Africa (0.4 percent).

IPU said that "quotas" remain an effective tool to make sure that more women are involved in politics, while ensuring a minimum level of women's representation in parliament.

The shortfall of such quotas, however, is that they seldom go beyond the "critical mass" of 30 to 35 percent of women's seats in parliament, IPU explained.

In light of this, IPU urged countries to adopt more ambitious measures so as to achieve gender-parity in all levels by 2030.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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