Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Women's Fair Representation Looks Decades Away

By Ernst-Jan Pfauth. UNITED NATIONS, Mar 1 (IPS)

Although nearly 17 percent of the world's parliamentarians are women -- a rise of 4.7 percent compared to 1995 and an all-time high -- the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) says that the pace of reform is so slow, it would be another 70 years before women achieved full parity with men in politics.

"I have great doubts about the coming years," IPU Secretary-General Anders B. Johnsson told IPS. "I do expect setbacks to happen, but I hope we can successfully reverse them." On Mar. 1, the IPU presented its latest statistics on women in parliament following parliamentary turnovers in 51 countries (61 chambres of parliament) over the last 12 years. Rwanda continues to rank in first place, with women holding 48.8 percent of seats in the Lower House. Still, only 18 other countries in the world have reached at least 30 percent female representation -- Sweden (47.3 percent), Costa Rica (38.6) and the Netherlands (36.7).

(Click here to read more)