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Peace and Politics
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ver the past 50 years, the most progress has been achieved in securing political rights for women -- the right to vote and to be elected. Today, there are only a few countries where women cannot vote or run for public office.

It is widely believed that increasing the number of women in decision-making positions will lead to positive changes for women and society. However, even though women can run for office in most countries, their presence in government is still very low.

Consider the following:

  • Only 24 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century. In 1995 there were 10 women heads of state. Although women's representation at the highest level of government is generally weakest in Asia, four of these 10 held office in this region.

  • Only 14.1 percent of representatives elected to Parliaments around the world are women, up from 11.7 in 1997. The percentage of female cabinet ministers worldwide has risen from 3 in 1987 to 6.2 percent in 1996. In early 1995, Sweden formed the world's first cabinet to have equal numbers of men and women.

  • Of the 189 highest ranking diplomats to the United Nations, only eleven are women.

  • Almost no women served on the military staff of UN peace keeping between 1957 and 1979. In 1993, 2 percent of the military contingent of peace-keeping were women. Throughout the history of UN peace-keeping, there have been only 2 women in top decision-making positions.

Peace and Politics continues...


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