Number of women in new parliament up by ten percent

Date: January 1, 1970
  • SHARE:

The number of women in the new South African parliament is set to increase from 120 to 131, a ten percent increase, according to calculations by Gender Links.
The number of women in the new South African parliament is set to increase from 120 to 131, a ten percent increase, according to calculations by Gender Links.

With a national assembly of 400 seats, this will result in an overall proportion of 32.8 percent women in parliament compared to 30 percent in 1999.

South Africa will now move up in the global ranking of women in parliament from 15th to 11th place, coming after Austria and slightly ahead of Germany. Rwanda, with 49 percent women in parliament, is in the lead position in the global league.

South Africa will also now move to first position in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ranking of women in parliament, with Mozambique and Seychelles close behind at 30 percent and 29.4 percent respectively.

The main reason for the increase in women’s representation in the 2004 South African elections is the ANC’s higher majority, with the number of ANC women up from 96 in 1999 to 104 in the new parliament.

The ANC is the only political party with a quota for women. Although the proportion of women on its combined lists in 2004 remained constant at 35 percent (the same as in 1999) the fact that women are evenly distributed in the ANC lists and that the number of ANC seats increased in this election delivered 8 of the eleven more women in the new parliament.

ANC women will account for 79 percent of the total number of women in parliament, virtually the same proportion as in the last parliament.

Although women made a much stronger showing on the lists of opposition parties this year, the total number of women opposition MPs is only set to increase from 24 in 1999 to 27 in the new parliament.

This reflects the fact that women in opposition parties are often not strategically placed on lists, a critical factor for parties that only gained a few seats. Parties with no women MPs are the New National Party, ACDP, UCDP, Minority Front, VF and AZAPO.

The party with the highest proportion of women MPs is Bantu Holomisa’s UDM (four out of nine, or 44.4 percent) followed by Patricia de Lille’s Independent Democrats with three out of seven (or 43 percent) women. The DA has increased its proportion of women parliamentarians from 6 in 1999 to 13 in 2004 (from 15.7 percent of the DA total in 1999, to 26 percent in 2004).

In a statement Gender Links, a member of the Fifty Fifty campaign said: "The fact that there continues to be a steady increase in the overall representation of women in parliament is positive. The ANC has been consistent in its commitment to ensuring that this happens, both through the overall numbers of women and their position on ANC lists.

"Our recent study, "Ringing up the Changes, Gender in Southern African Politics" leaves little doubt of the crucial role that more equitable representation by women in decision-making structures has played in advancing gender equality. South Africa is looked to for leadership in these issues, in the region and globally.

"For this reason we are disappointed that the ANC did not make a bolder move during these elections to raise the stakes from 30 to fifty percent, and that other political parties continue to shy away from taking special measures for ensuring greater representation by women. Their performance illustrates that it is not good enough to simply have women on lists. There has to be a commitment to ensuring that they get into parliament.

"All eyes will now be on the new cabinet. We hope that President Thabo Mbeki will use this opportunity- one that is entirely in his hands- to increase the representation of women in this top decision-making structure from its current level of thirty percent to gender parity."

For more information contact Colleen Lowe Morna 082-651-6995

SA- Representation of women in parliament 1994 to 2004

  1994     1999     2004    
PARTY Total Women % women Total Women % women Total Women % women
ANC 252 90 35.7 266 95 35.7 279 104 37
DP/DA 7 1 14 38 6 15.7 50 13 26
IFP 43 10 23 33 9 27.2 28 5 18.5
NP/NNP 82 9 10 28 4 14.2 7 0 0
UDM       14 1 7 9 4 44.4
ACDP 2 0 0 6 2 33 6 2 33
FF       3 0 0 4 0 0
UCDP       3 1 33 3 0 0
PAC 5 1 20 3 0 0 3 0 0
Other       5 2 40 4 0 0
TOTAL 400 111 27.7 400 120 30 400 131 32.75

Source: Gender Links

Comment on Number of women in new parliament up by ten percent

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *