On 5th of January the Polish Parliament approved Gender Quota Bill that aims at increasing women’s participation in political life. Before the Bill enters into force it must be signed by the President. According to the new legislation, at least 35 percent of all candidates on the lists of all parties running for seats in the 460-seat lower House of Parliament must be women. However, the rule does not apply to elections to the 100-seat upper House, the Senate.
The idea was launched by the Polish Women’s Congress that drafted law proposal on parity and collected more than 100,000 signatures of citizens supporting it. Unfortunately, the original project was changed by the Parliament and a number of places guaranteed for women was reduced to 35%.
Underrepresentation of women in political life has been a concern for CEDAW Committee that called upon Polish government to adapt temporary special measures to accelerate women’s full and equal participation in elected positions.
Currently women account for some 20 percent of deputies in the lower house and for only 8 percent of senators. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for autumn 2011.
Source: KARAT Coalition of Women’s NGO’s in Central & Eastern
Europe & Central Asia - http://www.karat.org/karat,20,en.html