Published on January 7, 2008
Women’s Political Participation and Strategies for Greater Equality: Women’s Political Participation and Strategies for Greater Equality Jung-Sook Kim (Ed. D.) President, Center for Asia-Pacific Women in Politics The 6th Asia Pacific Congress of Women in Politics - February 10, 2006 - Agenda: Agenda Introduction Women’s Political Participation in the world Multiple Factors Impeding Women’s political participation Strategies to Expand Women’s Political Participation Conclusion I. Introduction: I. Introduction 21st century will be an era of femininity and women can have far greater opportunity in social, political, and commercial endeavors. If men were well suited for the industrial era, women are well suited for in Information-oriented era. National development will be a function of how effectively woman power is applied and will depend on how well administrative systems are organized to utilize this potential. Number of seats held by women in national legislative bodies is important element to make the best use of this potential power. Women’s participation in politics, business, and social activities are important. What are the necessary changes needed in laws and social system? Slide4: Since the 4th Beijing World conference on Women in 1995, many countries have been formulating systems and enacting laws to help women become more active participants. Some countries have made a positive contribution to women by giving preferential treatment in fields where women were “behind.” • Women’s political participation remains abysmally low all over the world. • Representation is low in appointed posts as well as in elected posts • In the case of elected positions, the global average women’s participation rate was increased approximately 3% over the past 10 years. - Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland): 40% - Asian and Pacific countries: 15.9%, 13.9% Slide5: <Table 1> Women’s Political Participation, Regional Breakdown (unit: %) **Source: IPU, http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm Women in National Parliaments: World Classification(Oct. 2005, IPU) Slide6: To assess the last decade’s progress of ‘women’s participation in politics To identify cultural, religious, and institutional factors that impede women’s political participation and to consider strategies to remove them To help generate a spirit that will allow us to extend and reinforce networks of cooperation among the women of the Asia Pacific region The purpose of this paper II. Women’s Political Participation in the World : II. Women’s Political Participation in the World Since the 4th Beijing World Conference on Women in 1995, the expansion of women’s political participation has been a worldwide trend. Big changes are still being made in the northern part of Europe as well as in Arab and Asia-Pacific countries. Slide8: <Table 2> Women in Parliaments: World classification (30 Nov. 2005) (Unit: pers %) Slide9: <Table 2> Women in Parliaments: World classification (30 Nov. 2005) (Unit: pers %) **Source: IPU, http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm Women in National Parliaments: World Classification (Nov. 2005, IPU) Slide10: If you look at Table 3 showing the ratio of women lawmakers of the Asia-Pacific countries between year 1995 and 2005, There are only seven Asian countries, which have more than 20% women lawmakers in either upper or lower houses. New Zealand 32.2%, Vietnam 27.3%, Australia (24.7% of the lower house, 35.5% of the upper house), Tajikistan(17.5% of the lower house, 23.5% of the upper house), Laos 22.9%, Pakistan(21.3% of the lower house, 18.0% of the upper house), Malaysia(9.1% of the lower house, 25.7% of the upper house) However, some countries (NAURU, Solomon Islands, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Iran) are showing less than 10% participation of women. Slide11: <Table 3> The numerical change of women lawmakers in Asia-Pacific countries (1) Slide12: <Table 3> The numerical change of women lawmakers in Asia-Pacific countries (2) Slide13: Reference: http://www.ipu.org/wmn-/classif.htm <Table 3> The numerical change of women lawmakers in Asia-Pacific countries (3) Slide14: Women face countless difficulties in their attempt to become legislators Reasons Politics is considered to be men’s realm Dearth of women who wish to take part in politics Problem Cultural factors Patriarchal culture Traditionally women were excluded from high positions Religion Social division of gender roles legitimized by religious doctrine and practice acted to curb female potential Modern military state Women were excluded from public activities in the military culture Slide15: Lack of experienced women Woman’s family responsibility Unfair party nomination process Election system Election campaigns Most women have been forced to have “feminine” occupations and it is hard to enter in politics trough such occupations It is often hard to juggle time and energy between family and politics Nomination is conducted through a ‘closed’ decision cycle and too often, through unfair methods that discriminate women candidates Small election district majority system is unfavorable for women There are problems associated with the generation of funds and the establishment of effective organizations during election campaigns Procedural factor IV. Strategies to Expand Women’s Political Participation (1): IV. Strategies to Expand Women’s Political Participation (1) The factors that limit women’s political participation: - Cultural factors - Institutional factors Cultural factors are more fundamental, while institutional factors tend to be derived or constructed. Therefore, a more effective short-term method of reducing barriers involves focusing on the institutional component rather than attacking cultural factors. IV. Strategies to Expand Women’s Political Participation (2): IV. Strategies to Expand Women’s Political Participation (2) Introducing quota systems as an affirmative action Election System Electoral District System (Magnitude of Electoral Constituency) Nomination Method within Political Parties Educating and Scouting Talented Women in Politics Increasing Political Funds for Women 1.Introducing Quota Systems as an Affirmative Action(1) Importance of introducing quota system -1-: 1.Introducing Quota Systems as an Affirmative Action (1) Importance of introducing quota system -1- Slide19: Concept of “consequential equality” - Feminists contended that there is no true equal opportunity simply because a formal obstacle has been eliminated. Even if direct discrimination might have disappeared, there are various other kinds of discrimination that still impede women’s political participation. (1) Importance of introducing quota system -2- Debate issues on quota systems Slide20: (1) Importance of introducing quota system -3- Importance of introducing quota systems Quotas have been one of the most successful means to securing women’s political participation Quota systems effectively improve traditional man-centered politics and help women and new comers to participate in politics Successful results in women’s political participation in Northern Europe Quick increase of women’s participation in Northern Europe Slide21: (2) Quota System of the World -1- A quota system can be divided largely into three types: legal quota : a method of clarifying a quota in the political party Act or in the election law and requiring all the political parties follow it legislature seat quota : a kind of election quota system that allocates a certain percentage of seats for women a quota system by political party : There is no strict or legal requirement to use the quota system by the political party, but it is a method whereby the political party voluntarily allocates a certain percentage of women nominees by the political party Slide22: (2) Quota System of the World -2- Quota system of the world Adopting quota systems in politics related law or election law for assuring women’s representation is a worldwide trend Slide23: Quota Methods Slide24: Quota Methods Slide25: Quota system in South Korea Adopted 30 % quota system for women candidates in the nomination of electoral district constituencies Adopted 50 % quota for women candidates in the nomination of proportional representation of National Assembly Every Party allocated 50 percent of proportional representation to women and accorded the first place to women Huge increase of women in the National Assembly: 5.7% (2000) 13.4% (2004) Current status Slide26: (3) The Effect of a Quota System -1- The primary goal of a quota system : to let more women advance into politics in a short time. The secondary goal : to encourage many young women to take interest in politics and become prospective politicians over the longer term. Slide27: (3) The Effect of a Quota System -2- The case of France ; In March 2001, there were Provincial (counsel général) and city council (counsel municipal) elections in France. This was a good opportunity to see the effect of a quota system in France, because the provincial election was done without applying the Equal Number of Gender Candidate Act (Parité) while the city council election was done with applying the Equal Number of Gender Candidate Act. Slide28: (3) The Effect of a Quota System -3- The case of France ; Remarkable increase in the number of women legislators! There were 189 women elected out of the total of 1287 elected, accounting for only 9.8%, which was a little progress over the previous one of 126 women or 6.3%. With the application of the Parité, the ratio of women elected is 47%, which shows a big gab progress over 22% of the previous legislatures. Case of the provincial election Case of the counsel municipal election Slide29: 2. Election System (1) voters directly choose the candidates they want voters’ interests may not be accurately reflected in the legislature and under-representing minority opinion. Proportional representation sys. it proportionally represents the voters’ interests. Such action may not be to the liking of voters who wish to directly choose their representatives because they are forced to select from a list determined by political party functionaries. Majority representation sys. Merit Drawback <Figure 1> Relationship between Percentage of Women Legislators and Election System: <Figure 1> Relationship between Percentage of Women Legislators and Election System Source: IPU, Democracy Still in the Making, 1997, p.52. Slide31: 2. Election System (2) In 1997, statistics show that among those countries where women legislators account for over 30% of the total, 60% of the countries had proportional representation systems and the rest had a combined electoral system. There is no country that elects legislators through a majority representation system among the countries with more than 30% women legislators. Therefore, we can see that a proportional representation system or partially proportional representation systems are favorable for women. 3. Electoral District System (Magnitude of Electoral Constituency) : 3. Electoral District System (Magnitude of Electoral Constituency) There are three categories of electoral district size: 1) Small district system (single member district) - 1 person - most unfavorable for women candidates - England, France, Korea, the U.S. 2) Medium district system - 2~5 persons 3) Large district system (multi-member district) - more than 2~5 persons - most favorable for women candidates 4. Nomination Method within Political Parties: 4. Nomination Method within Political Parties Nomination methods can be divided into two types: 1) Upward nomination method (primary election system) nomination is decided by individual party members or by representatives of the district constituencies of the party 2) Downward nomination method (central party centered nomination) Recommendation decision method & Bureaucratic nomination method nomination is decided by party bosses nomination is decided by individual party members or by representatives of the district constituencies of the party 4. Nomination Method within Political Parties: 4. Nomination Method within Political Parties <Table 5> Nomination method Source: Pippa Norris, Legislative Recruitment, p.203. Slide35: 5. Educating and Scouting Talented Women in Politics -1- Creating permanent institutions for women’s education in politics Establishing a talent pool is crucial in expanding women’s political participation France & Korea Experienced lack of qualified candidates Problem Solutions Active search for qualified new comers Current status In Korea, URI Leadership Center for Women Women’s Academy for political education and G.N.P Women Power Network 5. Educating and Scouting Talented Women in Politics -2-: 5. Educating and Scouting Talented Women in Politics -2- In the case of South Korea, the 17th General Election was fierce in terms of media campaigns The media will take the lead in terms of shaping political culture It is important for women to arm themselves with tools necessary to make the media work for them Specific education programs are essential to this end 2) Women’s education through the Media and the Internet Slide37: 3) Building strong network with other women’s associations and establishing a women’s resource bank 5. Educating and Scouting Talented Women in Politics -3- Women’s organizations within different political parties should build strong networks Parties should manage women resource efficiently Slide38: Build Women resource banks for current and past women national and local assembly members, head of associations and women executive party officials Build strong networks both among themselves, and with other groups of women interested in politics should should Parties Women’s organizations Slide39: 6. Increasing Political Funds for Women Effective use of funds for the political advancement of women Independent and systemized government funding is necessary to ensure greater honesty in government’s fund In Korea, New Political Fun Law, March 2004 Advancement of women’s political participation Government subsidies 10% Slide40: 10% allocation of the government subsidy Grand National Party Women Power Network 10% allocation of the government subsidy URI Leadership Center for Women The Ruling URI party Oppositional Grand National party V. Conclusion (1): V. Conclusion (1) Future society will not progress without making the best use of its women. Not doing so is like running a race with only one leg or thinking with only half a brain. It is a global trend for governments and political parties to allocate quotas for women in order to promote their political participation. Women’s active political participation will improve dramatically the current politics. Once women’s participation reaches parity, the traditional male centered politics characterized by authority, domination and sometimes corruption and violence will yield to politics that is characterized by love, caring, cooperation, sacrifice and honesty. V. Conclusion (2): V. Conclusion (2) A key ingredient for success, and one of paramount importance in today’s reality, lies in the effort of women themselves, not as individuals, but acting collectively. Women’s organizations, NGO’s, and citizen’s organizations, when acting in a concerted manner, have considerable power to alter both cultural and situational conditions to expand political empowerment for women. The United Nations can play an invaluable role in supporting women’s NGOs in developing networks, in organizing and directing research, and in finding application for research fund around the world.