Rwanda sets a new record in parliament representation


Rwanda has toppled its current world record of 64 per cent women representation in Parliament, setting a new one of 68 per cent.

Out of 80 seats, women now occupy 54 seats, which is 67.5 per cent – a new world record for women representation in Parliament globally.

The new record came out on Tuesday night after the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced the September Parliamentary elections results, which saw President Kagame’s Party, RPF sweeping 74 per cent of the total votes and taking 40 seats, according to a NEC release copied to the Ghana News Agency.

In Ghana, there are 36 women in Parliament and this represents 12.75 per cent from both majority and minority, a clear short of the 30 per cent minimum threshold demanded by the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The figure is an increase of seven as against the election 2012 figure of 29 with statistics from the Population and Housing Census placing Ghana’s female population at 51 per cent.

The first Parliament of the fourth Republic had 16 women out of 200 MPs, second, third and fourth Parliament saw a slight increase in women representation but all below the minimum threshold.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been challenged to use his position as the African Union Gender Champion and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals, to double his efforts towards achieving the set targets in seeing to the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.

The Bill when passed, according to Cluster on Decentralisation and Citizens’ Participation -a civil society organisation, would accelerate Ghana’s efforts at meeting Sustainable Development Goal five target of Gender Parity in decision making by 2030 and the African Union Gender Agenda of 50-50 representation of both men and women in decision-making.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Convener of the group, Efua Edith Chidi, expressed displeasure at the “inactions” of government to facilitate the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill, which has been in Parliament for the past 13 years.

She cited how many African countries such as Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi and Guinea Bissau had made impressive progress after the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.

“In June this year, Guinea Bissau passed their Gender Equality Law and subsequently appointed 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men to cabinet positions.

Other African countries have demonstrated how their governments have been committed to ensuring gender equality within their political space,” she added.

According to the IPU ranking published in WEF recently, there are only two other countries with more women in parliament than men – Cuba (53.2%) and Bolivia (53.1%).

It said Latin American and Caribbean nations also take a further four spots in the top 10 – Mexico (48.2%), Grenada (46.7%), Nicaragua (45.7%) and Costa Rica (45.6%).

The rest of the top 10 is rounded out by two more African nations – Namibia (46.2%) and South Africa (42.7%) – and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Sweden (46.1%), the world’s first self-proclaimed “feminist” government, the ranking says with the United States placing 75th by the close of 2018.

The cumulative regional averages indicate that the Nordic group of countries lead the way in female representation with 42.3 per cent of seats, followed by the Americas (30.3%), the rest of Europe (26.5%) and sub-Saharan Africa (23.8%).

It said Asia (19.7%) and the Arab states (18.7%) lagged well below the global average, but it is the Pacific nations (15.5%) which have the worst record.

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