UN: 'Percentage of women in parliament worldwide doubled in 20 years'

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) says the percentage of women in the world who are members of parliament has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, but political action is needed to overcome the slow pace of progress to equality.

IPU made this known on Thursday at a meeting to discuss the findings of its annual analysis on progress and setbacks for women in parliament.

The meeting covered not only trends of the past year, but also looked at changes achieved during the last two decades.

IPU's Kareen Jabre said findings by the agency showed that the global average of women in parliament had increased from 11 per cent to 22 per cent since 1995, and the majority of regions in the world had doubled their numbers, aside from Asia which had only progressed by five percentage points.

Ms. Jabre said the top 10 countries with the highest numbers of women in parliament was a very different picture from 20 years ago, stating that 20 years ago out of the 10, eight of those countries were Europeans.

"Today, four of them are from sub-Saharan Africa, three are from Europe and three are from the Latin Americas. So a completely different picture and the European monopoly has been broken if I can say so," she said.

She also said that countries that had progressed the most were Rwanda, Andora, and Bolivia, adding that, five countries still had no women in parliament at all. They are Qatar and several states in the Pacific Islands.

2015 marks 20 years since a conference took place in Beijing, China, where a target was set to reach 30 per cent of women in decision making positions.

Meanwhile, the international community will on 8 March mark International Women's Day, and the UN and its agencies are highlighting the crucial need for gender equality worldwide.

Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ms. Ertharin Cousin called UN member stated to go "beyond lip-service, towards gender equality", saying: "WFP believes that women who are empowered will lead to its ultimate goal, a world with zero hunger."

Ms. Cousin said on International Women's Day this year, she wanted to pay tribute to the women and girls who dreamed big.

On his part, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said there was a pressing need for women to participate in all discussions on responses to extremist violence and discrimination, and urged them to genuinely challenge and dismantle the current power structures which perpetuated discrimination against women.

He also stressed that empowering women is precondition to sustainable development.
-0- PANA AA/MA 5March2015

05 march 2015 21:25:03

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