May 4 – Global Gender Gap in Politics Wide, Women Legislators Say

“Encouraging women to enter local politics, setting quotas in parliaments and pushing legislation on gender equality help narrow gender gaps in politics, participants at [the Women in Parliament Global Forum] said Wednesday. [. . .] The conference drew 260 legislators, as well as current and former female heads of state, from dozens of countries” (AP)

May 18 – With Women at the Top, UN Climate Body Has a Chance for Real Change

“As of 17 May, the six most influential positions within the UN process are all held by women, a significant increase on last year’s total of two. [. . .] ‘Women in developing countries are often impacted by climate change, but they continue to be under-represented and we need to mainstream this across out overall approach’” (The Guardian)


Malawi: May 9 – Joyce Banda: African Women Need Western Cash for Politics, not Lectures

“African women in politics need financial support from the West to help them forge ahead rather than leadership training, Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda said on Sunday, adding that advice she had received in the past had backfired.” (The News Nigeria)

Kenya: May 24 – Kenyan Politics: Where Have All The Women Gone?

“Although women comprise 52% of the Kenyan population and 60% of the country’s registered voters, political representation is heavily skewed in favour of men.  From 2007 to 2013, the number of women parliamentarians remained low – at 9.8%. Some progress has since been made in the current Parliament, with women members of Parliament (MPs) now comprising 19.5%.” (Institute for Security Studies)


Cambodia: May 11 – Women Encouraged to Enter Politics

“In the lead-up to the upcoming elections, three provinces have been selected to participate in a three-year project designed to encourage women, first-time voters and the youth to actively participate in politics. [. . .] the project aims to develop female candidate’s communication skills using modern media campaigns to address women and youth oriented issues.” (Khmer Times)

Taiwan: May 20 – Taiwan, The Place to be a Woman in Politics

“On Friday, Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s first female president [. . .] Unlike South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye and the Philippines’ former President Corazon Aquino, Thailand’s former PM Yingluck Shinawatra, she does not follow a father, brother or husband who was in a position of power. [. . .] Many of Taiwan’s female politicians, including former Vice-President Annette Lu, Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu, and chair of the Kuomintang party Hung Hsiu-chu, rose to powerful positions without having come from a political family. [. . .] Following January elections, [Taiwan] now has a record percentage of women legislators at 38%, putting Taiwan far ahead of Asian countries, the international average of 22%, and most nations, including the UK, Germany, and the US.” (BBC News)

India: May 21 – Women Voters Wield Power in India’s Elections

“The return of two women to key posts in recent regional elections signals a bigger phenomenon emerging in Indian politics – the power of the female voter [. . .] ‘The turnout of women has gone up and we can clearly see women emerging as a vote bank for politics and that is why parties are thinking of ways to attract women as voters.’” (Straits Times)


Rome / Vatican City: May 12 – Pope Francis Says Panel Will Study Whether Women May Serve as Deacons

“Pope Francis said Thursday that he would set up a commission to study whether women could serve as deacons in the Roman Catholic Church, a move hailed by women who have campaigned for years for a more prominent role in the church. His remarks reveal an openness to re-examining the church’s long-held insistence on an all-male clergy.” (The New York Times)

France: May 16 – Women Politicians in France Declare They Will No Longer Tolerate Sexual Harassment

“Seventeen women, all current or former ministers in France, have signed a declaration decrying sexual harassment in politics. The signatories — which include Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund — detailed instances of sexism they’d experienced while working in government and called for a toughening of the law against sexual harassment” (The New York Times)

Cyprus: May 23 – Highest Ever Percentage of Women in Parliament

“Women now comprise 20 per cent of parliamentary seats with AKEL MP Irene Charalambidou garnering the highest number of votes of any candidate across Cyprus [. . .] The new parliament’s make-up now includes 19.6 per cent women, an increase from the previous 12 per cent. In total, 11 women have seats in the House, up from seven, marking it the highest female participation ever.” (Cyprus Mail)

Middle East

Iran: May 1 – Iran’s New Parliament has more Women than Clerics

“Iran’s new parliament will have more women than clerics when its members are sworn in this month, a first in the Islamic republic and a sign of the country’s evolving politics.” (Al Arabiya)

Regional: May 10 – The Changing Face of Women’s Political Participation in the Middle East

“A wide-ranging political science literature on the challenges facing women’s political participation has highlighted variables such as Islamist movements, discourses on nationalism and citizenship, patterns of state development and cultural norms of patriarchy. But these broad discussions often fail to account for disparities in women’s experiences, not only among different states, but also sub-nationally.” (The Washington Post)

North America

US: May 14 – Key Senate Panel Endorses Women in the Draft, Making Policy Change More Likely

“Young women are one step closer to the draft after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted late Thursday to require women to register for Selective Service.” (The Washington Post)

Costa Rica: May 27 – Gender Equality Ruling Aims for Nearly 50/50 Male-Female Costa Rican Legislature

“Under the new rules, at least three women will head legislative ballots on every party’s list for the upcoming election. The other three top spots will be filled by male candidates and the seventh will be chosen using criteria defined by each party.  Parties have traditionally listed their male candidates first in all seven provinces, resulting in the election of more men than women.” (The Tico Times)

South America

Argentina /Brazil/Chile: May 14 – South America’s Powerful Women Are Embattled. Is Gender a Factor?

“Gender, analysts say, is not the cause of the leaders’ current problems. But, they add, the collective decline of the three women points to a persistence of macho attitudes in the region, especially within the political establishment.” (The New York Times)

Brazil: May 19 – Brazil’s Temer Promises to Bring Women to his Cabinet

“Federal lawmaker Josi Nunes told journalists in Brasilia that Temer pledged at a meeting with congresswomen that he would be bringing females into his government “a little further ahead.’ [. . .] The interim president has been under heavy criticism for not appointing women and members of racial minorities to any of the current 23 Cabinet positions.” (AP)

Peru: May 31 – Peru’s Fujimori Seen Winning Presidential Election Next Week: Poll

“Peruvian presidential contender Keiko Fujimori is seen beating rival Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in the June 5 run-off election, according to an Ipsos poll released on Sunday, consolidating the lead she had gained in recent weeks.” (Reuters)


Photo: Tsai Ing-Wen, Newly Sworn-In President of Taiwan. Photo credit Flickr user David Reid (CC BY-SA 2.0)