Monday, September 14, 2015

International Failure to Meet Gender Quotas in Leadership

Twenty years ago, the member states of the United Nations set a goal that by this point in time, their legislatures would consist of at least 30% women.  The deadline has come and gone, and a recent survey of 190 countries shows that this goal was not met by well over half of those that agreed to the pledge.  Many of the countries missing from the list are ones that may come as a surprise.

The United States is on the list of those who failed to meet the minimum set by the conference, with only 20% of its legislature consisting of women.  India also failed to meet the standard, despite being the most populous democracy, as only 12% of its legislature is made up by women.  These numbers are lower even than those in Afghanistan, which consistently ranks as having some of the worst accommodations for women’s health and education.  Furthermore, of those countries in the United Nations General Assembly, only ten have female heads of state.

The news is not all bad, however.  Some countries have shown surprisingly high rates of women in power.  Rwanda, for example, has a legislature that is 64% women.  Cuba also has a high percentage, with 48% of its legislative body occupied by women.  Despite the overall failure of the participating governments to meet the 30% mark, female representation has risen overall from 11% in 1995 to 22% at the present.  Though there is still a long way to go for gender parity, there is a visible improvement.  In order to remedy their shortcomings, the group of nations has been granted a five year extension, with the hopes that by 2020 all 190 nations will bring female representation in government up to a minimum of 30%.