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News > Colombia

UN: Women Losing Colombian Congressional Seats, Representation

  • A woman votes in Colombia  2018

    A woman votes in Colombia 2018 | Photo: Twitter / @Registraduria

Published 5 March 2019

The U.N. Women in Colombia said that in order for the country to “advance and face its national challenges it must include women in decision making” spaces.

United Nations Women in Colombia has come out with a report showing that women decreasingly have a seat at the table in Congress.

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"The right of women to participate politically should not be limited to voting (...) It also involves the right to participate, to be elected … free of discrimination and violence in all spaces where public affairs are deliberated and decided," reads a part of the report.

The Colombian National Civil Registry and U.N. Women presented their unprecedented report: "The Road to Parity in the Colombian Congress: The Political Representation of Women After the 2018 Elections" to Congress Monday.

U.N. Women in Colombia Director Ana Güezmes told local press: "When women are in positions of leadership and can fully participate in political decisions this indicates that the country is achieving a substantial level of equality between women and men, which is essential for democratic governance. It benefits the entire society."

UN Women in Colombia and the Registry @Registraduria present their report: "The Road to Parity in the Colombian Congress"

However, the report shows that the presence of women elected to Congress has fallen, though slightly, since the previous round of legislative polls in 2014.

Between the 2006 and 2010 elections, the percentage of women in Congress increased by 3.5 and by 2014 women had won 20.9 percent of the seats, making it the highest number of women to occupy Colombia’s legislative body. Yet, during the 2018 elections, this went down by a percentage to 19.7.

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The report indicates that women running for Congress from more rural and poor departments are faring worse than those from the more urban departments in the country’s interior.

For example, about 20 percent of all female candidates in 11 rural departments ran but none of them won, compared to the capital district of Bogota where 38.5 percent of all candidates were women who won nearly 30 percent of the time.  

According to a 2011 Colombian law women should represent 30 percent of all seats within the country’s bicameral legislature. The U.N. agrees and wants to reach that number by 2030 to also reach its Sustainable Development Goals.

Taking action against the low-number trend, former Senator Claudia Lopez announced via Twitter March 5 she is running for Bogota mayor. If elected Lopez would be the capital’s fourth mayor of the 619 who have occupied the post.

"I was born and trained as the woman and professional that I am. I have the character to correct what is going wrong, humility to continue what is going well and leadership to contribute what is lacking,” the candidate said in a tweet.

Over Twitter, the U.N. Women in Colombia said that in order for the country to “advance and face its national challenges it must include women in decision making” spaces.

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