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At current rate, it will take 50 years to achieve gender parity in parliaments globally


Although progress has been steady over the past few years, it is still excruciatingly slow and at the current rate, it will take another 50 years before gender parity is achieved in parliaments worldwide, the report states, adding that as at 1 January 2021, women accounted for 50 per cent or more of members in just three parliaments, include Rwanda, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In 2020, the global proportion of women in Parliaments reached a record 25.5 per cent, an increase of 0.6 points compared with 2019, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) latest Women in Parliament report.

Every year, the IPU publishes a report to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March. Although progress has been steady over the past few years, it is still excruciatingly slow and at the current rate, it will take another 50 years before gender parity is achieved in parliaments worldwide, the report states, adding that as at 1 January 2021, women accounted for 50 per cent or more of members in just three parliaments, include Rwanda, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

President of the IPU Forum of Women Parliamentarians Susan Kihika said: “While we note that a quarter of MPs in the world are women, we see how this still falls far short of representing half the world’s population. Unleashing the full potential of women who make up that 50 per cent should be our number one priority.”

IPU president Duarte Pacheco said: “Achieving gender equality in parliaments is a shared responsibility of men and women, and especially of men and women MPs, who by definition, are elected to lead. Only by working together and taking strong action can we move forward and accelerate the pace of change.”

IPU secretary general Martin Chungong said: “Progress is being made, but parliaments must be more open to women. They should be gender- sensitive and transform their functioning and structures to facilitate work-life balance for women and men, have zero tolerance towards all forms of violence against women in politics, promote legal change for better inclusion of women and be key actors in women’s political empowerment.”

Covid-19 and women’s political representation

The IPU Women in Parliament report shows that the Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on elections and campaigning in 2020. According to the report the national parliamentary elections were postponed in nearly 20 countries but went ahead in 57 countries overall in 2020.

The report points out that the economic downturn caused by the pandemic exacerbated existing gendered socio-economic inequalities, and adversely affected women’s ability to campaign for office and access campaign funding, however, the shift to remote, technology-driven parliamentary practices may have a potentially positive long-term impact for women in parliament.

The report further states that virtual voting and sittings have helped promote participation by members for whom travel is difficult, including those with disabilities or with young children. Flexible and remote workplace practices may allow more women and men to combine caring responsibilities with political career aspirations, it states.

Women in the top leadership in Parliaments

Globally, 58 women held speaker positions in 2020, an increase of one from the previous year, representing a global average of 20.9 per cent. Women held speaker positions in all regions of the world in 2020, with regional variations.

The United States made history in 2020 with the election for the first time of a woman as Vice President. Vice President Kamala Harris also constitutionally becomes President of the Senate. With Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives, both chambers of the US Congress are now presided over by women.

Progress in all regions of the world in 2020

Despite political upheaval experienced across Latin America, in particular in Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, once again, the Americas outpaced other regions with women making up 32.4 per cent of MPs, the report states, adding in the United States, 2020 marked the highest levels in history of women’s representation in its national legislature, at 26.9 per cent of the two chambers combined.

The report highlights that despite grave security challenges, in sub-Saharan Africa, Mali and Niger made significant gains in women’s representation.

In Europe, of 14 parliamentary renewals in 2020, four countries ~ Ireland, Serbia, North Macedonia and France ~ witnessed women’s representation exceeding 30 per cent in at least one chamber while three countries ~ Azerbaijan, Czech Republic and Romania ~ failed to reach the 20 per cent mark, points out the report.

Within the Middle East and North Africa region, although Egypt reached historic highs for women in parliament thanks to a new quota law for the House of Representatives but as a whole, the proportion of women in parliament in the region is the lowest among all regions at 17.8 per cent, all chambers combined, the report noted.

The report said gains in Asia were driven by women’s representation in the upper houses of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Of parliamentary renewals in 2020, only Nepal exceeded 30 per cent women, sustaining a strong track record on women in parliament over the past decade, it says.

In contrast to other regions, women’s representation in parliaments in the Pacific remained consistently low or entirely absent in elections held in 2020 except New Zealand, the report states.

New Zealand’s new parliament made history with more women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ and Maori MPs than at any time in the past.




Meghan tears into royal family in Oprah interview


Markle said she didn’t “fully understand what the job was” when she, as an “American”, waded into “the firm” – her description for the British royal family.

Meghan Markle told Oprah Winfrey that she was utterly unprepared for the “monster machine” of the British royalty when she married Prince Harry.

Markle said she didn’t “fully understand what the job was” when she, as an “American”, waded into “the firm” – her description for the British royal family.

Within the first 15 minutes of the hotly anticipated interview, Meghan revealed to Oprah that all she wants is to “go back to the basics” and that the reality of royalty wasn’t something she was ever ready for.

Around the 40th minute, Markle told Oprah that the royal family was “concerned” that her child would have “dark skin”.

Markle stopped short of saying who within Buckingham Palace was having these conversations with her or Harry. Disclosing that “would be very damaging to them”, she told Oprah.

“That’s what was really tricky over those past few years, is when the perception and the reality are two very different things,” Meghan said.

“And you’re being judged on the perception, but you’re living the reality of it.”

The interview has been filmed in a backyard garden setting, with Meghan in a flowing black dress with a splash of white near the top right shoulder.

Meghan also said that she never “looked up” her husband online and did not think it was necessary to crawl through research on Harry.

Clips released ahead of the on-air interview showed Meghan tearing into the royal family.

In the two hour interview, Winfrey will also ask sMeghan how she feels about Buckingham Palace “hearing you speak your truth today?”

“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Meghan said, in one of the promo clips that are circulating.

“And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there’s been a lot that’s been lost already.”

Speaking about her first meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan told Oprah she practised curtsying minutes before and never expected that she would have to endure this level of formality as a “working royal”.

The two-hour pre-recorded interview began airing on CBS in the US on Sunday at 8 p.m.

It will be broadcast in the UK on Monday night on ITV.




Active caseload rises for 5th day


According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Naidu collectively accounted for 85.71 per cent of 18,711 new daily cases reported during the past 24 hours.

With Covid-19 cases surging in six states, the Centre on Sunday sent high-level teams to the states of Maharashtra and Punjab to review the Covid-19 situation in there.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Naidu collectively accounted for 85.71 per cent of 18,711 new daily cases reported during the past 24 hours.

While Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 10,187, it is followed by Kerala with 2,791 and Punjab with 1,159 new cases. Maharashtra reported the maximum casualties (47), followed by Kerala with 16 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

Nineteen states and UTs, on the other hand, have not reported any Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The Centre has been continuously engaging with the states and Union Territories which are reporting higher caseload of active cases and also those showing a rise in daily new Covid cases. It has also deputed high-level teams to Maharashtra and Punjab, that are showing steep increase in new cases, said a senior officer of the ministry. Eight states were displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, among which the six states required immediate attention.

India’s active caseload continued to increase for a fifth consecutive day, on Sunday standing at 1.84 lakh, With this, the country’s active caseload has touched 1.65% of the total positive cases, the officer said.

Pandemic ending in Delhi, claims Jain: Delhi might be witnessing an uptick in single-day fresh coronavirus infections, but its health minister Satyendar Jain today said that the Covid pandemic was ending and was rather entering an “endemic” phase in the national capital




Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel inaugurates Road Safety Cricket World Series amidst spectacular fireworks


International cricket series being played in Chhattisgarh to increase awareness regarding road safety