Skip to main content

Compulsory quota? What India, other countries can learn from Mexico on ways to empower women in politics

By Sheshu Babu*
Though women constitute at least half of the world's population, their representation in political system is not in commensurate with the proportion of their numbers. Even many advanced countries like US and UK have less number of women when men in Senate and Parliament. Mexico is leading the way in giving women to have more say in politics.
Until the 20th century, Mexico had been primarily a rural country and women were confined to rural family and community. But, with the Spanish conquest of the 'Aztec' empire, cities began to develop and women began to come out of their rural life. They made great strides towards more equitable legal and social status.
In 1953, Mexican women were granted to vote in national elections (en.m.wikipedia). But, by and large, they are still exploited and discriminated in most parts of the country.
Women represent 52% of Mexico population but it ranked 49 out of 190 countries in the percentage of women in executive and ministerial positions (“Political representation of women in Mexico”, April 10 2015, by Juanita Islas, www.wilsoncenter.org).
In Congress, women occupy 37% of seats, which was 24% ten years ago. In 2014, the country passed a political reforms law stipulating that at least fifty percent of the candidates fielded in federal ir state election must be female (“Mexico seeks to Empower Women in Politics”, July 10, 2014, wilsoncenter.org).
Women account for 38% of legislators in the lower house and 35% of Senators. In US, women occupied only 18% of seats in the House of Representatives and 20% of Senators are filled by women. Quota of 50% must be maintained by political parties and replacement for women candidates must be women only. Affirmative action taken by Mexico government has made progress of women in politics possible in a big way.
After July 1 elections, in the next Congress, women will make up 47.8% of lower house and 49.2% of senate and at least 50% of most state legislatures. (“Mexico's election was a breakthrough for women”, axios.com). The lower house will have world's fourth largest female representation. Senate will have world's second largest female member representation after Belgium.
It will be the only country with an elected senate having women majority (“Women Win Big in Mexico' s Elections”, Lauren Gilger, July 13, 2018, kjzz.org). The country not only has a left - leaning president but Mexico city will have a woman mayor for the first time in the history of the nation.

Lesson for India, other countries

Other nations, including India, should learn from Mexico the ways of empowerment of women. The 33% women's quota bill in India is yet to be passed. No political party is interested in giving compulsory quota to women. Mexico has taken a significant step in this direction.
According to an article in the “Washington Post” (“Women won big in Mexico's elections taking nearly half the legislature seats ...” July11,2018), Magda Hinojosa and Jennifer M Piscopo state that women's wins are the result of 15 years of electoral reforms, in which Mexico incrementally refined the affirmative action rules that compel political parties to nominate women.
Analysing the impact of imposing reservations for women, the writers argue that gender parity is possible mainly through quotas and women have the same credentials as men and are even better qualified. They care more about rights issues and social problems more than men. Even women of rightist parties are more progressive than men.
Over 75 countries have some form of quota for women in politics. All Latin American nations except Guatemala and Venezuela have laws regarding political reservations for women. Mexico is leading the way: Will other developing countries of Asia and Africa follow its footsteps?

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.