Global parliament body ranks National Assembly fifth for gender balance


30-March-2012

The IPU – established in 1889 – notes that after our last elections, Seychelles has 14 women MNAs out of a total 32, representing 43.8% of the law makers.

Rwanda  leads with 56.3% or 45 out of 80 parliamentarians being women, followed by Andorra (50.0% or 14 out of 28), Cuba (45.2% or 265 out of 586), Sweden (44.7% or 156 out of 349), with Finland coming after Seychelles with 42.5% or 85 out of 200.

South Africa is ranked seventh with 42.3% (169 out of 400), Netherlands eighth (40.7% or 61 out of 150), followed by Nicaragua(40.2% or 37 out of 92) and Iceland (39.7% or 25 out of 63).

The IPU maintains the Parline database which monitors the representation of women in politics across 190 countries.

A statement from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Community Development & Sports said: “Seychelles shot up to fifth position in January 2012 following a 20% increase since last year’s elections. This is a testament to the strides Seychellois women are making in politics and decision-making.”

The United Kingdom is ranked 53rd (22.3% women), France 69th (18.9%), Mauritius 70th (18.8%) and USA 78th (16.8%).
 “This is an important achievement for Seychelles as we get closer to fully realising the 50/50 target set out in the Southern African Development Community’s Protocol on Gender and Development.

“What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that Seychelles achieved this impressive result without a quota system, which is used by many countries to reserve seats for women.

“One might assume as a small country Seychelles has an unfair advantage to achieving gender parity in a National Assembly with only 32 members – but this is not necessarily the case. Some of the top ranking countries have large parliaments; including Cuba, ranked third with women making up 45.2% of the massive 856 parliamentary seats; while Sweden is ranked fourth with 44.7% women out of 349 seats. “Small states are found throughout the table including at the bottom, with Comoros ranked 136th with only 3.0% of women out of 33 members and Haiti which came 130th has only 4.2% women out of 95 members of parliament.

“Therefore the high representation of women in parliament is more to do with political commitment rather than size and level of development, a testament to the success of Rwanda.”

The ministry notes that even having a woman Head of State does not guarantee gender parity.
“Despite having a woman President, Liberia is ranked 113th with only 9.6% (or 7 out of 73) women and Brazil is ranked 116th with only 8.6% (44 out 513) women in their lower house of parliament.

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