Thirty Years of Democracy: Riding the Wave? Women's Political Participation in Latin America

Report / White Paper

March 11, 2014

Thirty Years of Democracy: Riding the Wave? Women's Political Participation in Latin America

30 Years of Democracy: Riding the Wave? Women’s Political Participation in Latin America examines the progress made in women’s participation at all levels of public and party decision making, in the three decades since the start of the third wave of democratization in Latin America, drawing on data from 18 countries in the region.

The report finds that, although the number of women in politics has improved overall, real progress is highly uneven and limited to only some countries. Indeed, even within these countries progress is largely confined to only some elected offices.

The study goes beyond the numbers, analyzing why some countries have been able to advance further than others and identifying some of the continuing obstacles encountered by women. It presents recommendations for improving the situation of women in public life including:

  • Introducing electoral reforms that guarantee more effective application of affirmative action measures for election to public office in countries in which such measures exist;
  • Getting the issue of affirmative action onto the public agenda in countries where such measures have not yet been introduced;
  • Working for real democratization of political parties by encouraging practices that allow women to participate as active members and leaders under truly equitable conditions;
  • Studying and implementing reforms to incorporate gender criteria into regulations on political financing, as well as gender-oriented criteria for access to resources and control of spending by political parties;
  • Encouraging strategies for supporting women who hold elected office, through the creation women’s networks; and
  • Working with the media to eliminate their chauvinistic view of politics and urging them to put gender issues on their agenda and provide equal coverage of female candidates.
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International IDEA
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