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What Happened With the Women in the Colombian Elections?

Despite advances in the participation of more women in politics, the country has a long way to go to achieve gender parity. Learn about women in the Colombian elections.

France Marquez, Paloma Valencia and Katherine Miranda

Photos: TW-FranciaMarquezM, TW-PalomaValenciaL, TW-MirandaBogota

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: ¿Qué ha pasado con las mujeres en las elecciones de Colombia?

After the legislative elections that took place in Colombia on March 13, the country has 25 more women in the Congress than in the previous period. In 2022, the Congress will have the presence and work of 79 women, 48 in the House of Representatives and 31 in the Senate of the Republic. Although these results can be interpreted as a victory for gender equity, in reality the country is still far from achieving parity in the representation of public officials, considering that the congress is made up of 267 seats. In other words, only 29.5% of the seats will be held by women. However, at election time, there are several in the Colombian elections that are standing out.

Francia Márquez, a woman with projection

Despite the fact that in the Pacto Histórico, Gustavo Petro took 80.5% of the votes in the consultation, Francia Márquez surprised with hier support, which was the third highest of the coalitions with 783,160 votes. In fact, she outvoted all of the candidates for Centro Esperanza, the centrist coalition.

This woman's vote is surprising because it is the first time that she has appeared in electoral elections and because she does not have the machinery of other candidates, who have also already held public office such as Sergio Fajardo, Álex Char or Alejandro Gaviria. However, her capabilities are evident and the country was able to recognize them in the debates and in her campaign. This is a woman who has taken up the banners of defending the environment, marginalized and vulnerable communities, especially the Pacific Region, and the inequalities suffered by women.

As she herself pointed out in her speeches, she is a woman who represents a large number of people in the country who do not identify with the traditional political classes and expect a change that benefits ordinary people, especially in the regions. "This is not for a position, it is to start a process of transformation for the country," he said on his social networks after the elections.

Ingrid Betancourt, the only woman in the presidential race

Finally, Ingrid Betancourt will be the only woman who will be competing for the position in the House of Nariño, for the Verde Oxígeno Party. However, since she joined the list of candidates, she has been involved in various controversies, such as what happened at the Centro Esperanza with her discussions with Alejandro Gaviria. The candidate also announced that José Luis Esparza, commander of Jaque Operation that freed her from the FARC kidnapping, will be her vice-presidential ticket.

After the elections on Sunday, the first debate of the presidential candidates was held, organized by Semana and El Tiempo, in which Betancourt, Petro and Federico Gutiérrez participated. There, the candidate pointed out that Colombia is polarized between two populisms (left and right) and that she is the true center option. However, the debate was also highlighted by strong attacks, not only political but personal, between the candidates.

You will be interested in reading: Infographic: Results of elections to Congress in Colombia

What happened to the feminists?

On the other hand, the Movement Estamos Listas "crashed" at the polls. This political group, which was emerging as the great feminist bet in the country, did not reach the minimum number of votes to have a seat in the Senate. However, the 108,761 votes that the movement obtained cannot be interpreted as a failure. In fact, weeks before the elections, they denounced obstacles to accessing financing and publicity, arguing that they were obstacles put up by the National Electoral Council, the National Registry Office, and Previsora Seguros.

However, it is necessary to remember that because a woman occupies a position of power, it does not necessarily mean that she is going to champion the demands of feminist groups. The closest example was with the approval of abortion, in which only one magistrate voted in favor. In fact, the tiebreaker in the vote, which resulted in the Court's yes, was made by a man.

Regarding this issue, Causa Justa and Mesa por la Vida, the groups that have worked for the achievement of abortion, congratulated 9 of the congresswomen, who, according to them, have supported the cause and are allies: María José Pizarro , Angélica Lozano, Katherine Miranda, Martha Alfonso, Catherine Juvinao, María Fernanda Carrascal, María del Mar Pizarro, Jennifer Pedraza and Etna Tamara Argote.

The female representation is on all shores

In addition to the personalities that we have already mentioned, in the Congress there will be other women who have stood out in national politics in recent years and who promise strong debates and initiatives. The most notorious names are María Fernanda Cabal, Paloma Valencia and Paola Andrea Holguín as representatives of Uribismo. There will also be Aida Avella, Clara López, Piedad Córdoba and Isabel Cristina Zuleta as figures from the left.

In the Senate there will be eight women from the Pacto Histórico, five from the Conservative Party, five from the Centro Democrático, four from the Liberal Party, four from the Alianza Verde y Centro Esperanza. There will also be five more women who will each represent the Partido de la U, the Mira Party, Colombia Justa Libres, the Alternative Indigenous and Social Movement (AIS) and Cambio Radical.

In the Chamber, there will be eight for the Pacto Histórico, twelve for the Liberal Party, five for the Conservative Party, two for the Centro Democrático, five for the U Party, five for Cambio Radical, four for the Alianza Verde and 7 more than other parties.