New Internationalist

Votes for women

November 2008

For the first time ever women will outnumber men in a national parliament. The landmark results came not in Sweden (where 47 per cent of seats are held by women) or Cuba (43 per cent) but in Rwanda, where September’s election results gave 44 out of 80 seats – or 55 per cent – to female candidates. The country’s post-genocide constitution of 1994 already guaranteed 30 per cent of parliamentary posts to women, and even before this election, Rwanda topped the standings with nearly 49 per cent female representation. The Rwandan electoral commission also announced that 55 per cent of the 4.7 million registered voters are now women. Female voters are thought to be more likely to back candidates promoting education and health, and fighting discrimination against women, regardless of the party they represent.

This column was published in the November 2008 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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