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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

October-24-03

Rwanda Tops Sweden With Highest Proportion of Female Members of Parliament

After elections held earlier this month, Rwanda achieved the highest proportion of female parliamentarians in the world. According to the BBC, 48.8 percent of Rwanda¹s members of parliament are women. Women were voted into 39 seats in the lower chamber of deputies, 24 of which were reserved for women and 15 of which were open to men and women. An additional six were elected to the Senate.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union leader, Anders Johnson, stated "the success of women in politics in the Nordic countries, for example, has long been attributed to a culture which fundamentally values the equality of women in all sectors of societyŠtime will tell if such a culture also takes root in Rwanda," reports the BBC. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda claimed the lives of nearly 800,000 people. Thousands of women were raped and killed during this period.

Sweden, the long-standing leader with the highest percentage of women in Parliament, now holds second place with 45 percent of the seats being occupied by women. The United States ties with Andorra at 60th place with women comprising only 14.3 percent of the parliamentary seats. Women's rights advocates in the US are calling for concrete measures to increase women's political participation in a US draft resolution to be considered by the United Nations this month.

Media Resources: BBC News 10/22/03l Guardian 10/23/03; Feminist News 10/22/03


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