How are Colombian women doing in political participation?

The country is in urgent need for the consolidation of public policies of gender equality

Armchairs in front of desk in congress.

Armchairs in front of desk in congress. / Photo: Unsplash - Reference image

The Woman Post | Lucia Gómez, co-founder of "She-Is Foundation"

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo les va a las mujeres colombianas en participación política?

It is necessary to state that gender inequalities have accompanied the history of humanity and the political field is no exception: just remember that the right to vote, one of the main political rights that every citizen should have, was acquired in many countries, including Colombia, in the mid-twentieth century, which made women begin to consolidate in certain politic spaces without a majority participation.

This article will highlight some data in relation to the political participation of women in Colombia that needs to be evidenced to understand in a clearer way the panorama we face in the country. It will also take into account elements of legal order at the national level that have allowed progress in the political field. 

Undoubtedly, the political participation of women in the country reflects that, although progress has been made and there is evidence of an evolution in this area, there is still a long way to go for true parity, which allows women to have the same opportunities of access, permanence and development in political processes of various kinds. 

The above is affirmed taking into account figures of the elections that took place in past days. According to data issued by Sisma Mujer in statements to the media “there is a 60% decrease in women effectively elected as governors, taking into account that in the 2015 elections five governors were elected, but on this occasion, there were only two women elected”. Also, 130 women were elected to hold the office of mayors while in 2015, for the same position, 133 women won. The above mentioned shows that inequalities in electoral participation continue to persist.

Why is it necessary for more women to have leadership positions in political processes? The answer is simple: this will allow the agendas related to gender projects to be more relevant in the political scenarios. On the other hand, debates related to empowerment and the importance of women's participation in the public field will have a greater demand and possibility of being strengthened.

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From the above mentioned it is well known that we still have to work solidly to generate a greater participation of women in politics, occupying, as Lesmes (sf) says, “positions of leadership and direction of both collective and human development of the country”, because without the above it will be very difficult for significant changes to be seen in the lives of women and also in the construction of a better country.

Now, although the outlook in our country has not been the most prosperous, it would be wrong to ignore that there have been advances, for example, in legislative matters among other fields.

To name some of the most relevant normative precepts, is Law 51 of 1981 by means of which Colombia adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women of the United Nations General Assembly, Decree 1398 of 1990, which regulates and defines some elements related to the aforementioned convention , Law 581 of 2000, the so-called Quota Law that sought to regulate the participation of women in the scenarios and various levels of decision of the branches of public power, among others.

Although these precepts have allowed progress, there is currently an obvious “underrepresentation of women in the areas of public power and in the positions of popular election” (DNP, 2013, P. 19 cited by Lesmes sf), the above is worrying because the guarantees of true equality in this matter are still distant, which represents a great challenge in terms of parity in political participation.

The above is key to understanding the importance of the consolidation of public policies of gender equality that allow the guidelines established in national and international regulatory requirements to materialize and, on the other hand, that not only the female electoral offer is expanded but that these women are elected and transcend in the political exercise. In few words, the political participation of women must go beyond the fulfillment of a requirement established by law.


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