Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quotas for Women

Around 110 countries have rules helping women to get elected, joined in recent years by such feminist-friendly places as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. On September 5th Angola had its first election with a new quota in place that says 30% of candidates must be women. Yemen is discussing a similar measure.

Sexual equality in politics | Women rising | The Economist

Perhaps it is not a bad idea to have quota for women in parliament here in Kuwait. The downside of any quota system is that selection will not be entirely by merit. Some women will make it at the expense of more qualified men. But this has to be balanced with the bigger downside of lack of representation of women in parliament.

The lack of representation of women is a result of past discrimination and removal from the political process. Until women are on equal footing with men, a quota system to ensure their participation should be a welcome idea. At least we will get to see unbearded members of parliament!

8 comments:

X said...

Dear Bu Ziad,

We live in a "supposedly" democratic nation.

using the "women quota system" will void the "complete competition principle" which is one of the basics in a democratic nation.

I know sometimes it seems that there is no light in the end of the tunnel in Kuwaiti politics BUT using this quota system, will make this tunnel even darker.

In the last election Rola Dashti got 4464 votes in the 3rd district, Aseel Al-Awadhi got 5173 in the 3rd district either.

They had extremely good numbers, but the district they were nominated in had a high competition rate from political blocs and religious sects fighting for it.

It seems that they don't need the handicap to win in parliament.

thank you

ZooZ "3grbgr" said...

I believe that 30% is a big percentage at the beginning .. let them start with 15% to be increased later on ...

bu ziyad said...

x: even though women outnumber men voters, no woman made it to parliament. Let us hope they can make it without any help, but what I suggested is a remidy until we get there.

3grbgr: 15% of 50 is 7.5 so the half would be half male half female or shemale :p (that will make طبطبائي's day!)

X said...

Dear Bu Ziyad,

First I would like to apologize for misspelling your nickname in my earlier reply.

I totally agree that women voters are much more than men voters, but this is the first election with women candidates, I think they had a pretty good shot here.

There wasn't any extreme resistance from any religious sects of the Kuwaiti Society. And they were quite popular with the national bloc (Al-Minbar Al-Dimoqrati + Al-Tahalof Al-Watani).

I honestly think that in the next election (if there was one), there will be women in the parliament.

But the real question is, shouldn't we focus on other issues? ex; political corruption?

bu ziyad said...

x: I think this is the second election for women, but the first under the new 5 districts system.

Let us hope it is not the last election and that women make it next time one way or another!

Oh no worries about the misspelling.

X said...

dear Bu Ziyad,

Yes, this is the first election for women in the five districts election system. But comparing it to the last election, you'll see that their chance has increased drastically

Rola Dashti: 2006 = 1539, 2008 = 4464
Fatma Abduli: 2006 = 794, 2008 = 2184

This is more than 300% increase for the first candidate, and 120% for the other.

And those weren't supported "officially" by any political sect.

Jacques said...

Do you know at which respective date did backwarded moslem county such as Turkey allowed women to vote when compared with such champions of Human rights such as Switzerland and France? Turkey 1930, France 1944, Switzerland depending upon cantons, between 1959 (the french speaking cantons) and 1990 (Apenzell Rhodes Interieur) So much for Sarkozy who oppose Turkey joining the EU because "it needs to progress in human rights"

bu ziyad said...

Jacques: This is very interesting. We take the freedoms in the Western world for granted as well as the lack of it in our part of the world. Good to remember that the West struggled to reach where it is and should continue to press for our freedoms.