Thursday, January 21, 2010

More Women in Parliament, With Their Own Agenda

Leader of the Bartolina Sisa womens federation Leonilda Zurita and Rigoberta Menchú (ABI photo)

by Franz Chavez, IPS

An unprecedented 28 percent of seats in Bolivia's new parliament will soon be occupied by women. Female lawmakers have already launched a battle for women to serve in half the posts in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

One indication of women's increased influence was the election Tuesday of Ana María Romero to preside the Senate, the first woman in this country's parliamentary history to do so. Re-elected President Evo Morales said it was a step towards gender parity in the powers of government.

The bicameral Plurinational Assembly is the new legislative branch under the constitution that came into force 11 months ago, and replaces the Congress that met for 184 years. The constitution, re-written by a constituent assembly 33 percent of whose members were women, has re-founded the Bolivian state.

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