Senegal: parity in politics is gaining ground

It’s official, from now on the National Assembly in Senegal can boast of the presence of more than 44% of women. Progress to be qualified due to the realities of power and a notorious social inertia.

The political representation of women in Senegal is gaining ground. However, if the progress is to be welcomed, the road to equality is long in a country where patriarchal laws are still very present. More than 44% of the seats in the National Assembly elected in July are now held by women. It should be noted that this is the highest proportion in a Parliament in West Africa.

Aminata Touré, Prime Minister for ten months between 2013 and 2014 was President of the Economic and Social Council. She was elected to Parliament for the presidential party. “You are much more closely watched, they don’t forgive you for any mistakes. I believe all women in power would tell you the same thing. explains the chosen one.

Of the 165 parliamentary mandates, 73 are vested in women. Senegal is ranked 4th in Africa and 18th in the world for gender parity in parliament, ahead of Switzerland, France, Britain and the United States, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organization based in Geneva. In Senegal since 2010, a law requires “absolute parity” between the sexes in all elective institutions, with lists of candidates alternating between men and women. However, female representation remains below 50%.

More generally, Senegal ranks 130th out of 189 in a UN ranking on gender equality. This new force in the presence of the National Assembly “allows women to have their say”, on the budget and on their concerns, specifies Aminata Touré.

The topics are many. Thus the Maputo Protocol, an initiative of the African Union which aims to widen access to abortion and which Senegal ratified in 2005 is still not transcribed into national law. Indeed abortion is authorized in Senegal only in the case where it is a question of saving the life of a pregnant woman. Thus, in 2020, the census reported a quarter of the female prison population imprisoned for acts related to abortion.

Another subject: the legal age of marriage is 16 for girls, 18 for boys. “It should be raised to 18 so that girls can continue to go to school and be on an equal footing with boys in terms of rights,” insists Maimouna Yade, head of the organization of JGEN women.

President Macky Sall is expected to appoint a prime minister soon. The formation of a new government should not delay. Observers of the “cause of women” will be attentive to the place given to them. Aminata Touré pleads for parity to be applied to the government and the private sector.

For its part, civil society is campaigning for the President of the National Assembly to be a president

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