From the Economist: Quotas improve African women’s representation in government

From top left: Mabinty Kadija Sillah (SL), Helen Kuyembeh 9SL), Juliana Azumah-Mensah (GH), Sena Benita Okity-Dua (GH), Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence (LIB), Jewel Howard-Taylor (LIB)
From top left: Mabinty Kadija Sillah (SL), Helen Kuyembeh 9SL), Juliana Azumah-Mensah (GH), Sena Benita Okity-Dua (GH), Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence (LIB), Jewel Howard-Taylor (LIB)

A new report from the Economist suggests that while African women still have a long way to go in political participation, things are looking up across the continent. As of last year, 1 of 5 of every member of parliament in Sub-Saharan Africa is a woman. At least 36 of the parliament’s worldwide that have a minimum of 30% women, 11 are are in Africa. The report says that the increase in women’s representation is due largely in part to the adoption of quota systems.

OF THE 36 lower houses of parliament worldwide that have reached the 30% threshold considered necessary for women to have an impact on decision-making, 11 are African. At the end of 2012, one-fifth of sub-Saharan MPs on average were female, according to figures of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union. That may not sound a lot, but marks an increase of seven percentage points on 2002, and puts the continent on a par with the global mean. By comparison, women MPs make up 23% of Britain’s House of Commons, and 18% of America’s Congress. In many cases, the gains are because of quota systems, which are increasingly popular. Last year Senegal’s parliament saw the fastest advance in female representation globally after it enforced a parity law. Women make up almost half of it. In September Aminata Touré was appointed as Senegal’s prime minister.

You can read the full story here. Here are 6 female parliamentarians from Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia that you should get to know. Hon. Mabinty Kadija Sillah (MP) from Bombali District Northern Sierra Leone, Hon. Helen Kuyembeh from Bo District in Southern Sierra Leone, Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah from Ho Eastern Region in Ghana, Hon Sena Benita Okity-Dua Constituency from Greater Accra Region in Ghana, Hon Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence Grand Bassa Country in Liberia, and Hon Jewel Howard-Taylor Senator of Bong County in Liberia.

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