'Women in Politics Map' Shows Slow Progress in Political Parity

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In short
Uganda slid to 31st position with 154 females out of 449 legislators. The figures reflect a percentile decline from the 2016 report in which Uganda was in 29th position, despite the creation of new districts and which brought more women in parliament through the affirmative action vote.

Women's voices are still missing from the executive branches of governments and parliament's worldwide, slowing achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN Women, the agency tasked with supporting gender equality says.

The number of women Heads of State or Heads of Government fell from 19 to 17 since 2015. Only two of these are in Africa. They include Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Namibia's Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

Similarly, progress in the number of women in cabinet and in parliament continues to be slow, according to the Women in Politics Map, a visual representation of women's political empowerment launched today by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women launched today.

The report shows that Female ministers saw a decline in numbers in Africa, after years of steady growth with only 19.7 percent of the region's ministerial posts held by women.

Rwanda, with 9 females in a cabinet of 19 Ministers and 49 out 80 legislators still tops the list of countries with the highest number of female ministers and members of Parliament across the world. It's only followed by Bolivia, above the 50 percent mark.

Uganda slid to 31st position with 154 females out of 449 legislators. The figures reflect a percentile decline from the 2016 report in which Uganda was in 29th position, despite the creation of new districts and which brought more women in parliament through the affirmative action vote. Neighbors Kenya lie in a distant 100th position, with only 68 women in an assembly of 350 legislators.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, told journalists in New York the cost of political campaigns and male domination of political parties are increasingly stifling the capacity of women to take over elective offices in areas where there is no affirmative action.
 
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Mlambo-Ngcuka also noted that some women also experience pushback from men, including physical violence, taunting and bullying; while the media sometimes focuses too much on women's physical attributes rather than their experiences and political platforms.
 
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However, data by the Inter-Parliamentary Union- IPU shows that the number of female Speakers of the House is up to the highest so far, with 53 out of 273 posts. Ten of these are in Africa. They include Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa (2 chambers), Uganda and Zimbabwe

"In 2016, we saw confirmation of a trend we had been seeing, when it comes to representation of women in parliament, there is progress but the progress is excruciatingly slow. At this rate, it will take 50 years to reach 50-50 parity," Martin Chungong, the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) says.

"This is a warning signal; we have to do something about this." He stated.
 

 

About the author

Sylvia Nankya
Sylvia is an Editor and Media Trainer with Uganda Radio Network. She has been a URN staff member since 2013. Sylvia has previously worked as a reporter and news anchor with Radio One (2001-2009) and with Vision Group (2009-2011). Six of her active years in Journalism were spent covering the Parliament of Uganda.

Over the past few years, Sylvia has worked to promote the positive development of societies recovering from conflict through training journalists on choices of stories, how they report issues and use of appropriate language in covering conflict and post-conflict situations.

She is an Alumni of RNTC- Holland, Les Aspin Centre for Government at Marquette University-WI, USA and a Community Solutions Fellow.