By now, the other half of humanity was to be better represented in their ranks. Yet despite a promise made by world leaders two decades ago to have women make up at least 30 percent of their national legislatures, most of the world’s parliaments remain largely the province of men. The conference at the United Nations reflected just that.
Among 190 countries, only 44 legislatures have met the 30 percent goal, according to an analysis by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. They include Rwanda (nearly 64 percent of members of its lower house of Parliament are women) and Bolivia (53 percent).
The United States is not among those that met the target. Among members of the House of Representatives, 19 percent are women, and in the Senate, the figure is 20 percent. In India, the world’s most populous democracy, women’s representation is even lower: 12 and 12.8 percent, respectively, in its lower and upper houses.
Santi Bai Hanoomanjee, speaker of the national assembly of Mauritius, nudged her male colleagues from around the world to take up the cause in their own countries.
“Be advocates for gender equality,” she said in her speech to the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament."
Read article by Somini Sengupta from The New York Times.