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  • Lucía Topolansky, senator and wife of Jose Pepe Mujica, an exeption to the rule?

    Lucía Topolansky, senator and wife of Jose Pepe Mujica, an exeption to the rule? | Photo: EFE

Despite a law designed to invigorate women's participation during the 2015 elections, the political involvement of women remains low in the country.

The women's organization Cotidiano Mujer presented on Sunday a report analyzing the effects of the gender quota system implemented in the 2015 local elections, showing the outcome could be even lower than in the past in some cases.

The gender quota system had a positive effect in major electoral districts, like the Senate departmental congresses, found political analyst Veronica Perez, one of the authors of the report. However, in smaller districts like city halls, women's representation had decreased on the 2010 elections.

Perez emphasized that although the local politics were more “friendly” to women, because they referred to the field of their daily lives, the study revealed access to participation could be just as challenging as the national seats.

In the 2015 local elections, out of the 1,168 seats available, only 17 percent were obtained by women – compared to almost 24 percent in 2010. Surprisingly, the left-wing coalition, currently in power, registered lower rate of elected women with less than 13 percent.

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Perez interpreted the low rates for the selection filters of candidates and also of self-selection, meaning the party does not seek female candidates and/or women do not feel prepared to become the party's candidate, the latter depending on factors like levels of education, income, and ambition for status.

The quota system has nevertheless been efficient in departmental boards, but not in the elections of mayors, as women are rarely put on the top of the electoral lists.

Perez concluded that the quota system remained an important tool to improve women's representation, as proven by the departmental Boards. It should be now dubbed with a gender equality law in order to improve women's representation locally.  


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