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After the November 2020 national elections, women make up 49 per cent of the Legislative Assembly of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, cementing its position as a forerunner on gender parity in politics. The participation of indigenous women and stopping violence against women in political and public life are among the top priorities for the country.
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Bernadette Gomina is a Member of Parliament for the administrative division of Bayanga, in the south of the Central African Republic (CAR) and one of two women elected in the first round of the 2020–2021 legislative elections in the country. She details the challenges that women leaders face and how the Forum of Women Parliamentarians has helped spark change.
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Millie Odhiambo, 55, is one of Kenya’s fearless politicians. The legal frameworks she has ushered through Parliament provide unprecedented protection for victims of crime. Although sexual harassment and election-related violence often plague women politicians in Kenya, Odhiambo and her peers are proving that women deliver for gender equality and protection of survivors. She is also pushing for enforcing existing quota laws
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At a high level event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, UN Women, the UN Development Programme, UNHCR, and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights called for reform of nationality laws that discriminate on the basis of gender. Twenty-five countries retain nationality laws that deny women the right to confer citizenship on their children on an equal basis with men. More than fifty countries have nationality laws with gender-discriminatory provisions, with most denying women the same right as men to pass nationality to a non-citizen spouse.
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At the G7 Summit in France on 25 August, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, together with Nobel Prize Laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, presented the report of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council to G7 leaders in Biarritz.
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Too many countries enshrine different legal rights for men and women. Why is this, and how can we rid legal systems of this long-standing prejudice?
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The Republic of Guinea adopted on 2 May, a Law on Parity that says women must make fifty per cent of the candidate lists for elective positions.
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In her remarks at the G7 ministerial meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted legislation as an important instrument for change that is systemic and irreversible.
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A high-level event on the margins of the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women on 20 March, launched the “Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030: A Multistakeholder Strategy for Accelerated Action”. The strategy, developed by UN Women, the African Union, Commonwealth, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Secretaría General Ibero-Americana, and many other UN and NGO partners, seeks to fast-track the repeal or revision of discriminatory laws in 100 countries by 2023.
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The High-level Group on Justice for Women (HLG), comprising of justice, human rights and gender experts from different parts of the world, launched a pathbreaking global report on Justice for Women on 13 March, at a side event on the margins of the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
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Following decades of struggle for peace in southern Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law was ratified in July 2018. The law creates a new political entity to replace the existing autonomous region, which is home to 13 ethno-linguistic groups in Mindanao.
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On the heels of Jordan and Tunisia scrapping discriminatory rape laws, the Lebanese Parliament agreed on 16 August, to abolish the Penal Code Article 522, the infamous “rape law” or “rape-marriage” law, which exempted a rapist from punishment if he married his victim.
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Mehrezia Maïza Labidi chaired many of the plenary sessions that led to the birth of Tunisia’s new constitution, which includes a clause guaranteeing women’s rights. A vocal advocate for young women's participation and leadership in politics, she took part in the High-Level Women Leaders’ Forum for Africa’s Transformation and the launch of the African Women Leaders’ Network.
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As countries start implementing the Sustainable Development Goals towards achieving a sustainable and gender equal future by 2030, discriminatory laws continue to hold women and girls back. Begona Lasagabaster, UN Women Chief of Leadership and Governance Section, talks about a new UN Women initiative, Roadmap for Substantive Equality:2030, launching on 14 February at the UN Headquarters, which will coordinate efforts to repeal and amend all laws that discriminate against women and girls.
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Statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women on the occasion of parliamentarians in Nigeria and Liberia taking positive steps to directly support inclusivity and create opportunities for women.
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On 29 September, the Liberian House of Representatives concurred with the Senate to pass the Equal Representation and Participation Act of 2016, establishing seven ‘Special Constituencies’, among which five seats would be reserved for women, one for youth and one for the disabled.
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New law mandates minimum 40 per cent women in cabinet and party lists, gives men 14 days paid paternity leave, and prohibits sexist ads and language in media.
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This year’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is the first in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka details how the agenda’s emphasis on universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination, sets common goals to achieve a world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality, all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed, and ‘no one is left behind’.
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Women parliamentarians from the Arab States region unite to make a difference for sustainable development. While the Arab States region is at a crucial point of transition in history, gender equality and inclusion must be on the top of the region’s priorities.
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Libyan women are fighting for their right to a voice in the shaping of the future of their country.