Women's participation in Latin American politics: more alive than ever

With the high participation of women in the Senate and the House of Representatives in Mexico, a new prospect in the Latin American women's political sphere is opening

Women's participation in Latin American politics: more alive than ever

For the first time in the history of Mexico, women achieved high figures in female political participation in that country. In the last elections of July, the Chamber of Deputies remained with a participation of 244 women (48% of the seats) and the Senate remained with a participation of 63 women (49%), according to El Sol of México. The success of these elections is due to the fact that Mexico reformed a political-electoral law in 2014. There it was established that "the candidacies of all parties and coalitions at the federal level should follow the 50-50 principle between men and women," the same media reported.

Leer en español: La participación de las mujeres en la política latinoamericana: más viva que nunca

Although in June 2018, Mexico ranked 9th in the world ranking "Women in parliaments" created by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, it is expected to rise to climb to the top. In that month, Cuba was in second place with a female participation in the Lower House of 53.2%. Within the first 10 positions were also Bolivia (53.1%), Nicaragua (45.7%), and Costa Rica (45.6%).

"Quotas Law"

Although the percentage of participation varies in each country, the Quota Law tends to advocate equal distribution of popular election and representation genres. This is expected to obtain a greater presence of women in these positions. The success of Bolivia being in second place is thanks to the law that was implemented in 1997. In the Bolivian case there must be 30% of women actively participating in a party. "The entrance of women was opened, mandatory in municipalities, and then women began to enter positions, to political spaces," said researcher Gloria Velásquez to Eju.

However, cases such as Brazil, which ranks 132nd (10.7% of women in the Lower House), questions the use of that law. One of the main reasons is that the parties use fake candidates to meet the quota of 30% female participation. El Tiempo presented the case of Danielle Silva Lopes, who was nominated as councilor of Sao Paulo by the Christian Social Democratic Party (PSDC, by its acronym) in 2016. However, Lopes told her party that she would not be interested in her candidacy. Even so, the day of the elections appeared on the electoral ballot and she did not have any vote. Cases like these are seen and consequently, less than 15% of the seats are occupied by women, concludes El Tiempo.

Competing for a seat

On the other hand, in the United States, the competition to obtain a seat in Congress is strong. After the primary elections in several states, more than 180 women compete to occupy a seat in the House of Representatives, reported France24. In addition, there are 11 women competing to govern states. In June, participation in the Senate increased, as there are 24 Democrats and 18 Republicans women.

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Female participation in the new Government

With the new Government in Colombia headed by Iván Duque, and with the country's first vice president, it is expected that female participation will increase. Among its electoral promises is to have at least 50% of the ministries in the hands of women. When he won, he announced that his cabinet would include 8 women in charge of the Ministries of the Interior, Education, Culture, Justice, Labor, Mines and Transport, as well as ICT.

Faced with this, Patricia Pacheco, representative of UN women, said in a dialogue with Caracol Radio that "we think it is an extremely positive signal that the gender equality agenda can have real impacts on what will be the public policies that they are going to come with this new government." However, Pacheco affirmed that more than a number, the change and participation will be seen with the issues that deal with the political agenda.

Female political participation in Latin America has had an important boom in some countries. This goes hand in hand with policies and struggles that have allowed women to have a representative role in government. Although only a few countries were named, the right of women in politics is more alive than ever.

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "La participación de las mujeres en la política latinoamericana: más viva que nunca"

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