Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women in Parliament



Picture Courtesy: Office of President, Rwanda/Frederick Munyanbuga

The sickening drama over the Women's Reservation Bill is finally over. I hope it does not repeat again in the Lok Sabha.

I came across this interesting chart showing the percentages of women in global parliaments. The data has been compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union on the basis of information provided by national parliaments of 187 countries as of Jan 2010. The chart gives percentages of women in both houses of parliament, and India ranks a pathetic 99th in the list. But guess who tops the chart? Rwanda

Rwanda has 45 women in the 80-seat lower house, and 9 women in the 26-seat upper house. Thats 56 per cent in the lower house and 34 per cent in the upper house. COmparatively, India has just 59 women in the 545 seat lower house, and 21 women in 233 seat upper house. Thats 10.8 per cent in the Lok Sabha and just nine per cent in the Rajya Sabha.

Even Pakistan has better figures. In the 2008 elections, 76 women were elected to the 342 seat Pak lower house (22.2 per cent), and 17 women found a place in the 100-seat upper house (17 per cent). Our other neighbour Nepal has sent 197 women in its 594-seat lower house (33.2 percent) and ranks 19th in the list. China ranks 55th in the list.

Leading the list are countries like Sweden, South Africa, Cuba, Iceland, Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Mozambique and Angola in the top ten with more than 38 per cent women in their parliaments.

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