Poll supports affirmative action for women in politics

Most opinion leaders in Latin America support affirmative action to boost parity and the political participation of women, according to a poll by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the third survey carried out between November 2010 and January 2011, involving public and private figures from throughout the region, 64 percent of respondents were in favor of quota laws. In addition, 78 percent continue to think that political parity encourages changes in the exercise of authority and leadership styles, while 67 percent support penalties for parties that do not comply with the quotas laid down by law.

The general results of this poll involving academics, politicians and social and religious leaders point to the growing positive political influence of women, as this improves the representative nature of the democratic system and strengthens democracy itself, said the commission.

In the three years the commission has carried out the
consultation, the figures show almost unanimous support for some policies aimed at facilitating the political participation of women, encouraging them to enter the labor market, implementing community childcare and health care services and expanding state facilities for pre-school childcare.

In this sense, the percentage of leaders who believe that men should be encouraged to increase their participation in household tasks has increased with each poll: 76 percent in the first in 2008, 81 percent in the second in 2009 and 84 percent in the latest.

The 2010 consultation confirmed attitudes towards pro-parity affirmative action, as 63 percent of those consulted hold this view. The main reasons are the influence of women’s movements (48 percent take this view), the electoral context (22 percent), the example given by female presidents (15 percent) and the agenda of international institutions (12%).

Furthermore, most of the region’s elite believe that the main opposition to political gender parity lies with the main political parties (66 percent).

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