Drude Dahlerup on mission to Egypt

As an expert in electoral systems and gender quota systems, Drude Dahlerup was on a mission for the Inter-parliamentary Union, IPU, January 13-14, 2013 to Egypt on the invitation of the Egyptian Senate, which was about to pass the new electoral law. In the delegation was also Peter Lilienfeld, from South Africa, who spoke about reconciliation processes (Nelson Mandela: “Democracy is to make politics with people you don’t like”). Zeina Hilal from the IOU headquarter in Geneva was the third member of the delegation and its leader.

In the first free election in Egypt, which took place 2011/12, the previous gender quota system was abandoned. The result was the 2011/12 election was a representation of only 2 % women, a great disappointment for women’s organizations in Egypt. In contrast, the 50 % quota for farmers/workers, which has been there since President Nasser’s time, will remain for at least the coming election in spring 2013.

The delegation had 2½ hours of discussion with the Senate in a polite atmosphere, even if there were strong disagreements, especially on women’s political representation. From this discussion, many Egyptian newspapers reported the information that Egypt today is among the bottom countries in the Arab world in terms of women’s parliamentary representation. It is still unsettled if the Senate will pass a gender quota regulation for the up-coming election.

Read article about the mission » Mission to Egypt (183 Kb)


Drude Dahlerup on mission to Tunisia

The Iinter-parliamentary Union, IPU, dispatched an expert mission to the Tunisia from 21 to 25 March 2011 in a bid to lend support to the process of electoral reform in Tunisia as preparations get under way for the election of a Constituent Assembly on 24 July 2011,

Following consultations with Tunisian women politicians, members of civil society organizations and representatives of local and international youth movements, the mission met with the subcommittee tasked with writing the draft electoral law. The discussions centred on identifying which election systems are the most conducive to a balanced representation of women and men in the future Assembly.

The mission team was composed of Professor Drude Dahlerup from the University of Stockholm, an expert in election systems and quotas (Sweden), Ms. Françoise Gaspard, former MP and expert on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (France), Ms. Syada Greiss, former MP and former President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians (Egypt), and Ms. Zeina Hilal, Programme Officer, IPU Gender Partnership Programme.

More information is available in the IPU e-bulletin »


Consulting in Cambodia

Cambodian Millennium Development Goals, CMDG3, adopted by the Cambodian government, include a 30 % target for women’s representation in the National Assembly and in the Senate before 2015. For the local councils a target of 25 % has been adopted.

At present, women have around 20 % of the seats in the National Assembly, 15 % in the Senate and only 4 % in the local councils. Because of some progress made during the last elections, some politicians believe that gender balance, or parity, will more or less come by itself. The NGOs together with many female politicians, in contrast, advocate the adoption of temporary special measures.

As an expert on electoral gender quotas, Drude Dahlerup from Stockholm University was invited for a week in September as a UNDP consultant to Cambodia. During a “MDG3 Week”, Drude Dahlerup together with Nyambura Ngugi, program specialist from UNIFEM, attended and addressed meetings with political parties; women’s NGOs and other stakeholders; civil servants in the Ministry for Women’s Affairs; a joint meeting for gender specialists from all ministries; women parliamentarians; and finally a large conference on “Achieving the CMDG before 2015”.

In her final report, Drude Dahlerup argues that quotas or other temporary special measures will have to be adopted if the CMDG3 of 30 and 25 % are to be met. Since only one election circle remains before  2015, it is vital that the political parties, not least the dominant and ruling CPP party adopt active measures to improve the number of women candidates and better their position on the electoral lists.

The perception that women’s lack of qualifications is the main reason for their low political representation, is dismissed by Dahlerup’s report in favour of the view that the political parties as the main gatekeepers to elected positions are the main actors in excluding or including women as top candidates for their lists (PR electoral system with closed lists).

Dahlerup’s report presents eleven recommendations in order to increase women’s political representation substantively, from recommending on improvement of a gender based electoral statistics, to making the nomination process more transparent and formalised, and the adoption of a specified number of quota provision or temporary special measures.

Report from consultancy in Cambodia » Report from Cambodia (168 Kb)


WIP consultancy in Sierra Leone

Paid by UNDP, Drude Dahlerup worked for one week as quota expert in Sierra Leone in December 2009, invited by the Campaign for Good Governance, CGG, an NGO. The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established after the civil war, had recommend a 30 %  representation of women in all political assemblies in order to involve women in the process of development and democratization of the country.

During this week, CGG organized separate meetings with parliamentarians, political party leaders and women’s organizations to discuss gender quotas. At the end of the week, Drude Dahlerup, together with legal experts from Sierra Leone, addressed a large and lively conference for political parties and women’s organizations from all over the country.

It was the impression that the demand for gender quotas, starting with 30 %, later to increase to 50 %, is today well established in Sierra Leone. Consequently, the task for the consultant was to examine how a quota system could be implemented in the electoral and political system of Sierra Leone. A WIP-report with recommendations and a list of choices to be made for gender quotas to function properly will be delivered soon.

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Report from consultancy in Sierra Leone » Report from Sierra Leone (65 Kb)