Women in Parliament on the rise

6 May 2009

Women’s representation in the National Assembly has increased to 45% following Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony in Cape Town, putting South Africa third in the international women in Parliament rankings, behind Rwanda and Sweden.

“This puts the country firmly on course to achieve the Southern African Development Community (SADC) target of 50% women in political decision-making by 2015,” Gender Links spokesperson Kubi Rama told BuaNews this week.

Party list representation

Rama said the increase in women’s representation was the largest seen in South Africa since the country’s first democratic election in 1994.

“We attribute the increase in numbers to the African National Congress’ (ANC) and the Congress of the People’s (Cope) 50/50 election lists, as well as improvements in women’s standing in other opposition parties,” she said.

Based on the party’s list of candidates released before the elections, 54% of the MPs representing Cope are women, while the ANC also put forward a 50% female representation.

“This achievement has come about as a result of voluntary party quotas as opposed to legislated quotas,” Rama added.

Women provincial premiers

The majority of the premiers governing South Africa’s nine provinces will also be women.

The ANC last week appointed Nomvula Mokonyane as the premier of Gauteng, Noxolo Kiviet as Eastern Cape premier, Hazel Jenkins Northern Cape premier, and Maureen Modiselle as premier of North West province.

The Western Cape will be led by Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille.

Source: BuaNews