Grenada leads region

Joins ‘above-30 per cent’ club for highest electoral gain for women


ENEVA, Switzerland (CMC) — The United Nations says Grenada is the only Caribbean country to join the “above-30 per cent” club for the highest electoral gain for women in the world.

Presently, five members of the elected House of Representatives are women – Emmalin Pierre, Yolande Bain-Horsford, Alexandra Otway-Noel, Delma Charles-Thomas, and Clarice Modeste-Curwen.

Another female legislator sitting in the Senate is Franka Alexis-Bernadine.

In the latest annual review of Women in Parliament, released at UN headquarters here by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an international organisation of parliamentarians, which works closely with the United Nations, 39 countries have reached the “above-30 percent” club.

In addition to Grenada, newcomers to this “30 per cent club” include Austria, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe (both houses), the review said.

It said the Latin America/Caribbean region on a whole recorded the highest electoral gain with women in Ecuador, Grenada and Argentina occupying more than 30 per cent in those three countries, “a percentage considered a critical mass to effect change.”

Rwanda led the list of 189 countries surveyed, with its Chamber of Duties recording more than 60 per cent women.

But at the same time, the IPU said a new growing concern has emerged regarding the rise in violence against women candidates running for political office.

“We know more about what is going on around elections. Thanks to social media, we know about negative elections, also more about violence, threats of violence, against women candidates,” IPU Secretary-General Anders B Johnsson told reporters at the report’s launch. “There are worrying reports we need to address.”

He said the Americas, which include the Caribbean and Latin America, topped the chart in 2013, with one out of every four members of parliament being a woman. In addition, he said the United States and Canada are “not doing as well”, with the former ranked 83rd out of the 189 countries surveyed as of January 1, 2014 and the latter 54th.

Of the top 10 performing countries globally, Johnsson said four are on the African continent, which recorded a “very, very healthy increase.”

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