Āboltiņa to women speakers of parliaments: Female participation fosters democracy and civic engagement

(04.10.2012.)

“Women in politics can actively encourage other women to run for office. Consequently, electing a greater number of women to political positions can deepen democracy and encourage civic engagement,” pointed out Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, on Wednesday, 3 October, while discussing the role of women in politics with women speakers of parliaments from all over the world at a meeting in New Delhi, the capital of India.

Solvita Āboltiņa stressed that women in parliament can significantly impact the political agenda: “Substantial evidence suggests that the inclusion of women’s voices – especially when addressing complex challenges – broadens the range of diverse experiences, interests, and expertise brought into parliamentary debates.”

The Speaker emphasised that in order to boost gender equality in parliaments, a smart and complex approach is needed. “Besides laws and action plans, it is also shifts in attitude and education that promote behaviour change. In my experience, when people have information, they are empowered to take control, to make choices that then allow them to have control of their lives and the destiny of their country. I have seen women empowered by choice, given voice by education, bestowed with strength by knowledge,” said Speaker Āboltiņa.

“We have to highlight every successful case and every inspirational story. Our hosts are among those that can be proud of having world-famous female leadership,” stressed the Speaker of the Saeima.

“The serious challenges the world is facing today will be solved only if woman have a seat at the table and are listened to. We will live in a much better world if women are able to use their full potential on behalf of themselves, their families, as well as global and local communities,” emphasised Āboltiņa.

The Speaker pointed out that many women worldwide still have insufficient access to the resources necessary to achieve high social status and equal participation in political processes. “We form half of the world’s population. Nevertheless, women make up the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty. Women represent the highest percentage of refugees and displaced persons in the world,” said Solvita Āboltiņa.

The Speaker of the Saeima delivered the keynote address at the conference’s session on “Women in Parliaments: How to bring about change?” focusing on increasing the role of women in the work of parliaments, which actually reflects the existing trends in society.

The meeting is hosted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union together with the Indian Parliament. Founded in 1889 and uniting the parliaments of 155 countries, the Inter-Parliamentary Union is the largest and oldest interparliamentary organisation.

 

Saeima Press Service

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