From Words to Action: Best Practices for Women's Political Participation in Latin American Political Parties

Case Study

May 16, 2011

From Words to Action: Best Practices for Women's Political Participation in Latin American Political Parties

Even though women represent more than half of the voting population in many countries and have been widely incorporated into the economic sphere over the last decade, reality tells us that there is still an important gap between these advances and women's access to elected or political party positions. While considerable improvements have taken place in women's participation in political decision-making bodies, the numbers continue to show substantial levels of underrepresentation. In the eighteen Latin American countries examined in this study, there is an average of two women representative for every ten male mayors, and those countries with an Upper Chamber have less than two women Senators for every ten men.

In oder to resolve this asymmetry, and in response to the demands of socially and politically organized women - as well as the international consensus supporting them- several countries have chosen to include quota mechanisms in electoral regulations. These quotas have been functioning with greater or lesser effectiveness depending on the context and regulatory framework in which they are applied.

This manual provides political party members and leaders with the means to implement concrete strategies for achieving equality for women within party organizations and to access positions of power and representation.

More than a year of research and field work in 18 Latin American countries is condensed in this publication, which describe 95 "good practices" implemented by party organizations. It also analyzes the progress and the challenges still facing women in politics, both in the region and in each of the countries studied.

The production of an English version was undertaken by UNDP and was made possible through the generous support of the United Nation’s Development Programmes Gender Team, in the Bureau for Development Policy.

Resource type: 
Beatriz Llanos and Kristen Sample
International IDEA
Publication year: