Does the quota law works?

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The numbers reflected in female participation in politics do not always represent a success or representation for women

Does the quota law works?

Colombia is below countries such as Bolivia, Mexico and Argentina in terms of female political participation, although there are laws that guarantee inclusion in the political sphere, such as the Quotas Law (law 581 of 2000), which stipulates that 30% of the top-level positions have to be occupied by women, or the Law of Parties (law 1475 of 2011), which says that the formation of lists or political movements has to be 30%.

Leer en español: ¿Sirve la ley de cuotas?

However, and despite the fact that the second most important position in the country is occupied by a woman, Marta Lucía Ramírez, and that there are laws stipulating female participation, in the elections of this year only 20% were reached in the participation of the Congress (according to SISMA). Now, who are these women who manage to be in that small percentage?

For Angélica Bernal, a political scientist and director of the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, the problem is that the women who come to occupy these positions do so by a relationship of kinship with the people who preceded them. This could justify why in certain political parties there is the idea that female political participation is effectively fulfilled and that women are included in this field.

But I feel that it is there where the problem lies. Really these women who have been appointed to the positions, represent something in the struggle for political participation? Maria Emma Wills already said in her book 'Inclusion without representation: the political irruption of women in Colombia (1970-2000)', "a woman's body guarantees neither a gender sensitivity, nor a feminist position, nor necessarily the commitment of politically represent the feminine difference ".

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Those women who are appointed prefer to carry the tradition of the party before the interests of women. Where are the women whose ideals go beyond that? Now, this nineteenth-century thinking has to be avoided, when it was said that women were not interested in politics. This is no longer the case, today there is a generational change and an interest in current issues.

And with these changes also come new obstacles, where political violence comes to disparage and question the decisions and opinions of women . According to Natalia Moreno, gender discrimination is made from the same political party, since the resources of the party are not entirely affordable for women.

The fact that the lists want to increase female participation to 50% (making a fundamental political reform, in the words of the Minister of the Interior, Nancy Gutierrez) does not guarantee that the quota of women really makes a differential. Neither the Quota Law nor the Law of Parties are effective methods for the participation of women. It can be an aid, yes, but if the woman who is running does so by her own means and is not designated as if it were a filling, or something that must be fulfilled by obligation.

In order to achieve a more equitable feminine political participation, we must begin with the conviction that women can also participate, that we have ideals and causes for which we fight, that we are not a puppet of a party, which is used to fulfill a obligation.


LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "¿Sirve la ley de cuotas?"

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