While the arrest of Mongolia’s former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar on corruption charges has been dominating headlines, another quieter, but very significant event took place earlier this summer on June 28, when nine women won seats in the country’s parliamentary elections. This is triple the number of women elected just four years ago.
The newly elected women MPs representing four different political parties were sworn in on Friday, July 6. While women still constitute only 12 percent of the 76-member parliament, a strong sense of optimism emerged that the new MPs would help unify across parties and have a significant impact on decisions affecting all Mongolians, including critical issues for families such as maternal and child health, schools, hospitals, and daycare.
This rise in the number of women elected to parliament was due in part to a new election law passed this year that introduced proportional representation for 28 of the 76 seats. It also specified that a minimum of 20 percent of the candidates nominated and approved must be women. There is no quota for women parliamentarians – just the proportion of women as candidates on each party list, but this change was nonetheless positive for women.
Read more at The Diplomat, published 23 August 2012.