Invisible Female Quota in the Next Presidential Elections in Colombia

With more than 40 pre-candidates, the Colombian presidential race is showing an obvious division within the country. Still, there are only two women still competing for the party's enforcement. Why is it happening?.

The Woman Post | Valentina Ibarra

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Colombia is living at an estranged moment in its political history: More than 40 people have put their names out as pre-candidates for the presidency. In the peak of political parties’ distrust, half of them are running as independents, trying to get enough signatures to make their candidacy official. But as the may 2022 elections get closer, some have to give up on their run because they lost their party’s enforcement or because they decided to support another independent candidate. Sadly, the majority of the people losing their chance to participate in the final election are women. As for now, only one woman is running for president, which contrasts with almost 40 men doing so.

Just weeks ago there were at least three other female contenders, but they lost against their male counterparts within their party’s election of a single candidate. During their campaigns, they affirmed that it was now the time for women, but their discourse was not successful. For María Fernanda Cabal, widely known as a right-wing politician, it is not easy for a woman to be included in electoral politics, because of economic dependency and the burdens of taking care of a family.

But this is not a problem only found in right-wing parties. For example, the center coalition does not include a single woman in the list of six candidates who will compete in march to decide who gets the final endorsement. As they explained, their female politicians refused the offer to participate. The reasons vary but include the lack of political viability, demotivation, and legal processes interfering. For one of the most known representatives who is running for congress, Angélica Lozano, the idea is to have candidates who can realistically compete and not only include names to get a female quota.


So for now, the only woman who is running for president is Francia Márquez, who will compete within the Pacto Histórico in march for the final enforcement. Still, considering that her biggest rival is the politician who got second place in the last presidential election, the possibilities of Francia getting to the May elections are low. So, just as it happened in the 2018 elections, it looks like there will be no female presidential candidates. But probably some will participate as the vice-presidential formula.

But the problem goes beyond the presidential campaign. As the political parties publish their list of candidates for congress, there is a notorious lack of gender parity within them. According to the Corporation “Transparency for Colombia,” 40% of the total senate lists is conformed by women, while the house of representatives is 41%. Even as it improves the conditions of the 2018 elections -33% and 36% respectively-, it is still not enough. Worsley, only 19% of the female candidates get a seat in the congress. As it is, some parties include them for the legal quota, but do not offer enforcement to make sure they get enough votes to win.

As it is, Colombia has tried to include more political quotas to promote female participation in elections. But still, women do not get the necessary enforcement to run for the biggest positions, making the political spaces a dominated male-field. As for now, it does not look like Colombia will have its first female president in the upcoming future.