Seven: Increasing women’s positions in parliament, governance and decision-making structures


Women’s inequality is evident throughout society and needs fundamental changes to occur in governance and decision-making structures for an egalitarian world to emerge. Around 52% of women in intimate relationships such as marriage still do not make their own decisions about consensual sex, contraceptives and health services. Moreover, 19% of women aged between 19 and 49 claim to have endured physical and/or sexual violence within the past year. Intimate partners were the perpetrators of almost half of the murders of women. In the UK, on average two women are being murdered per week (ONS, 2016). Violence in intimate relationships is also an issue of representation and governance, reflecting women’s disempowerment in both domestic and public relational spaces. Globally, child marriages affect 700 million or one in four young girls, and female genital mutilation (FGM) occurs to 200 million or one in three of them (Kelleher, 2014). The global figure varies according to region and country, being higher in some and lower in others, depending on cultural factors. Other types of inequalities also abound. For example, in the USA, women undertake 2.8 hours of unpaid domestic work daily compared to1.7 hours for men. Women earn 80 cents for every dollar (100 cents) men make. This figure declines to 60 cents for black women in America. Such data makes the case for addressing gender equality on a holistic basis involving leadership, economic empowerment, freedom from violence and quality education for women ever more urgent. In this context, tackling the political representation deficit becomes a key step in the struggle for equality.

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