Women’s Political Empowerment Shows Encouraging Growth Amidst Challenges

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The latest annual report from the global body dedicated to promoting peace through parliamentary diplomacy and dialogue reveals that women’s participation in politics has become more diverse in many countries. Data from 47 countries that held elections last year showed that women took an average of 25.8% of the available seats, which is a 2.3 percentage point increase since the last elections.

However, despite this positive trend, the increase in women’s participation is the smallest in six years. The 0.4% rise brings the global share of women in parliamentary office to 26.5%. At this rate, it is estimated that it will take another 80 years to achieve gender parity in parliaments worldwide.

One of the major obstacles to women’s increased political participation is the prevalence of sexism, harassment, and violence against women in different regions of the world. The climate of hostility and discrimination discourages women from taking part in political processes and can even lead to the resignation of prominent female leaders, such as New Zealand and Scotland premiers Jacinda Ardern and Nicola Sturgeon, who reportedly stepped down due to harassment.

Despite these challenges, there have been some encouraging signs of progress. For instance, Brazil saw a record number of Black women running for elections, LGBTQI+ representation tripled in Colombia’s Congress, and France elected a higher number of candidates from minority backgrounds than ever before.

Overall, there is a call for urgent action to speed up the pace of change and make parliaments more inclusive and representative of the diverse populations they serve. Male colleagues in parliaments worldwide are urged to work together with their female counterparts to achieve this goal.

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