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Women MPs See Slow Progress in World's Parliaments – IPU

IPUs Women in Parliament 2015: the Year in Review released this evening ahead of International Womens Day on 8 March, shows that for the second year in a row, the number of women Members of Parliament MPs across the world rose by a worryingly low 0.5 percentage point. Women now account for 22.6 per cent of the worlds MPs.
Women's participation in parliaments around the world saw worryingly low progress last year despite an increase in the number of women Speakers of Parliament, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has said in a report.

The report shows that the year 2015 proved to be yet another disappointing year for women's participation in parliament.

IPU's “Women in Parliament 2015: the Year in Review” released this evening ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March, shows that for the second year in a row, the number of women Members of Parliament (MPs) across the world rose by a worryingly low 0.5 percentage point.  Women now account for 22.6 per cent of the world's MPs.

Although this figure is an all-time high and represents the continued upward trend for women in parliament, the rate of progress in 2015 was another setback from the 1.5 percentage point increase witnessed in 2013.

With the percentage of women MPs in the world growing by just 6.4 points in the past 10 years, the snail-pace of 2015, a year in which elections took place in 58 countries, has done little to inspire confidence that the trend will change any time soon.

At this rate, IPU Chief Kareen Jabre said, the Sustainable Development Goals on equality will not be reached.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where violence and conflict marred elections in a number of countries, women MPs nevertheless increased their numbers by 0.7 percentage point. Strongest electoral gains were made in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Suriname, Egypt, Ethiopia, Myanmar and the UK where increases in numbers ranged from 15.7 to 7.4 percentage points respectively.

The most dramatic national setbacks were in Andorra, Croatia and Burkina Faso where the percentage of women MPs dropped by 14.3, 8.6 and 6.3 percentage points respectively.

The number of parliaments in the world with no women at all also rose from five to seven.

These include Haiti, Palau, Micronesia Qatar, Tonga, Vanuatu and Yemen.

Rwanda , with 51 out of its 80 legislators, tops the list of countries with the highest number of MPs. Uganda was in 29th position with 135 female legislators out of 386 MPs. The number is however expected to increase with the current creation of new districts and constituencies.

The low increase among women MPs is in sharp contrast to the relatively more positive development concerning women parliamentary leaders.

The number of women Speakers of Parliament jumped from 43 to 49 out of the 273 posts globally. Women now account for 17.9 per cent of all Speakers. 

This 2.1 percentage point increase from 2014 figures means that the number of women Speakers is also at a record high.

History was made in Namibia and Nepal, whose parliaments now have their first ever woman Speaker. It was made in the United Arab Emirates too, where the first woman Speaker of the Federal National Council also became the first woman Speaker in the Arab world.

The countries join Uganda, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Dominica, Ecuador, Estonia, India, Italy, Honduras, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Latvia which had female speakers by 2013.

The others are Lithuania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, San Marino, Singapore, Suriname, Turkmenistan United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan.

“The world has set new goals on gender equality and women's full and equal participation at all levels of decision-making within 15 years. IPU's 2015 statistics on women in parliament underline the urgent need for creative solutions and changing mindsets if there is any chance of meeting goals on political participation and empowerment,” IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong says.

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