Election Universe

The rising power of women in Bolivian politics

The rising power of women in Bolivian politics
November 05 2014, 19:13

The results of the most recent Bolivian national elections, held on October 12, undoubtedly represent a milestone in the long-standing worldwide struggle for gender equality.

As a result of the election, 48% of the representatives to Bolivia’s National Assembly, officially named Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional de Bolivia, will be women -16 in the 36 member Senate and 65 in the 130 member Chamber of Deputies.

Such results should not come as a surprise. Leading to the elections, the majority of candidates were women and more than 50% of the electoral roll was comprised by women. For quite a few years, Bolivia has been making great progress to advance in the fight for a more just society. In 1982, when democracy was taking its first steps after decades of failed military and civilian governments, the National Congress of Bolivia had only 3 female representatives (2%).

According to a study conducted by UNWomen, an UN-affiliated organization, Bolivia is at the forefront of gender equality in the region together with Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Two bills signed into law in 2013 – the Anti-Harassment Policy and Violence Against Women law (243), enacted in May, and the Law Guaranteeing Women Free from Violence (348) March- serve as a good proxies to demonstrate the recent push for greater representation in politics for women.

Fortunately, Bolivia is not alone in the region, as Latin America boasts some particular records when it comes to women in politics. In 1974, Evita Peron became the first woman to hold the presidency of a country (Argentina). Since then, Chile (Michelle Bachelet) and Brazil (Dilma Rousseff) have also had women as presidents.

Image courtesy of telesurtv.net