June 23, 2024

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Women already outnumber men in New Zealand's parliament

Women already outnumber men in New Zealand’s parliament

First change:

New Zealand has taken women’s political representation to a new level in the world, with a record proportion of female MPs in Parliament, surpassing the male proportion for the first time. In the rest of the world, although there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality, progress has been made in almost all areas, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) points out in its latest report.

This is an unprecedented event in the country’s history. With the appointment of Labor MP Soraya Beeke-Mason on October 25, New Zealand parliament already has more women than men.

Soraya Beck-Mason replaced House Speaker Trevor Mallard in June. Her appointment should have allowed women to occupy half of the 120 seats in Parliament and achieve parity. However, with independent MP Gaurav Sharma resigning on October 18, women are in the majority.

The final composition of New Zealand’s parliament depends on an election in December to fill a vacant seat. If one person is elected, the New Zealand legislature is completely equal.

New Zealand women gained the right to vote in 1893. ‘Radio New Zealand’ recalled, “It would be another 26 years before they were allowed to stand in a legislative election, after which Elizabeth McCombs became the country’s first female Member of Parliament.

“This is a real testament to the maturity of Aotearoa [el nombre maorí de Nueva Zelanda] When it comes to gender equality, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the New Zealand parliament “always succeeds when diverse voices are represented in law and government”.

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New Zealand is the sixth country to achieve parity in its legislature, after Rwanda, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, Nicaragua and Mexico.

It will take 50 years to achieve full equality in world parliaments

In 2021, Report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Globally, the proportion of women parliamentarians has reached a record 25.5%. Thus, a quarter of the global representatives are women.

This year the ratio has increased slightly. The percentage of women in national governments rose by 0.6 percentage points, from 25.5% on January 1, 2021, to 26.1% on January 1, 2022. The IPU states, “Among the 48 countries where elections were held in 2021, promotion women candidates represented 28.6% of seats, representing a significant improvement compared to the 22.9% recorded in 2020 overall”.

According to the IPU, this increase can be attributed to at least two factors: firstly, the average representation of women in parliament was already high in these 48 countries before the 2021 updates, and secondly, 30 of these 48 countries have a quota system. Compared to 25 of the 57 countries that held elections in 2020.

The Union emphasizes that the role of quotas is crucial in promoting women’s representation by 2021. “Countries with quotas have an average of 31.9% of women elected to their lower or single rooms, while those without quotas have only 19.5% of women elected overall”.

But all these developments are still very slow. At the current rate of progress, the union notes, “it will take another 50 years to achieve gender parity in parliaments around the world”.

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An overview of the status of parliamentary equality in the world

Of the 11 countries holding parliamentary elections in 2021, the United States is the region with the highest representation of women, with 39.1% of female parliamentarians elected to 15 chambers. Overall, in January 2022, women represented 33.8% of all members of parliament. This section is available in all rooms and countries.

In Africa, Mali; Niger and Chad have made substantial progress despite serious security issues, the IPU stresses. The organization says that this progress is protected against instability by adopting or modifying quota policies.

In terms of the proportion of women elected in 2021, Europe is the second largest region in the world, after the United States, with 30.4%. For this region, the IPU says, “the proportion of elected women increased by an average of 4.2 percentage points in the 12 countries that reformed their parliaments in 2021, representing the largest regional improvement”.

On January 1 this year, women represented 20.7% of parliamentarians in the Asian region, second only to the Middle East and North Africa. In Asia there was only a slight improvement (+0.3%) compared to the same period last year. In the region, women’s representation also suffered setbacks in Myanmar and Afghanistan.

Finally, in the Asia Pacific region, with the exception of New Zealand, female representation in parliaments remained low or almost non-existent after the 2021 elections.

Local media and IPU