The presence of women in Tajik parliament has risen 16 percent over the past 25 years

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Over the past 25 years, the presence of women in parliaments of most countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region has risen between 15 and 25 percent, says Equal Future, a newly released project by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Three countries in the region reportedly have laws mandating gender quotas for parliamentary elections: Armenia has a quota of 25 percent, and Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have a quota of 30 percent each. However, all those countries’ proportion of women in the parliament reportedly still fall below their quota targets.

There doesn’t seem to be much correlation between the level of democratization in the countries and the amount of women in the parliaments. In Georgia, which is considered the most democratic country in the region, only 15 of its MPs are women. Meanwhile, Turkmenistan ranks close to the top of the regional rankings with 25 percent.

Armenia has reportedly seen the biggest increase in recent years: in its 2017 parliamentary elections the proportion of women jumped from 10 percent to 19 percent, and then again to 24 percent in the next elections, in late 2018.

Many countries in the region have seen big jumps since the early post-independence parliaments in the 1990s, the UNDP report shows. Armenia’s parliament was only 6 percent women in 1995.

Tajikistan’s was 3 percent women in 1995 (compared to 19 percent today), according to the project.

Only 15 of 63 members of the newly elected Tajikistan’s parliament are women.

In Kyrgyzstan, the presence of women in parliament reportedly increased from 2 percent in 2000 to also 19 percent today.

The UNDP project notes that over the past 25 years, since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action by the United Nations in 1995, the number of women parliamentarians has nearly doubled worldwide.

Yet, with a global average of only 24.9 percent, women’s representation in parliaments is still lagging in most places.

As of 2019, women occupy at least 30 percent of seats in parliament in only 20 of the 56 countries in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe region, and at least 40 percent in only 6 of these.

Meanwhile, the Word Bank noted on March 3, 2020 that women’s political participation has increased across the region over the last decade, albeit slowly. Europe and Central Asia is among the regions with the highest proportion of women in parliament, with an average rate of 29% in 2019.

Source: Asia plus