MPs, government officials and members of civil society pledged to achieve gender parity in politics in Côte d’Ivoire by 2020 at the end of a two-day Parliamentary Conference in Abidjan. Jointly organized by the Ivorian parliament and IPU, the meeting aimed to sensitize MPs and other political actors to the importance of a gender-equal parliament in building a more egalitarian society in all spheres. A series of recommendations were agreed upon to enhance women´s participation in parliament, including changing the electoral law to introduce quotas for women candidates.
Adapted to the first-past-the-post election system used in Côte d’Ivoire, the proposed quotas would mean a minimum of 33 per cent of women candidates in the 2016 legislative elections, rising to 50 per cent in 2020. These would be legally binding for national, regional and municipal elections and for political parties. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and a Parity Observatory, another entity that would specifically be set up for the task, would be responsible for ensuring quotas were respected.
Other proposed recommendations included awareness raising campaigns on women’s representation, training programmes to empower women candidates and financial incentives on women’s participation. IPU will support the Côte d’Ivoire National Assembly in defining the necessary legal changes to translate the recommendations into reality.
The country currently has 24 women MPs (9.4 per cent) out of 255 parliamentarians, well below the regional average in Africa of 22.5 per cent. Côte d’Ivoire is 129th in IPU’s global rankings for women in parliament.