UN: high rate of Dutch women MPs

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The Dutch parliament has one of the highest proportions of women MPs, an international survey published on Friday has found.

With an average 40.7 percent of women in both houses of parliament, on 1 January the Netherlands ranked eighth among 188 countries surveyed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The list is topped by Rwanda 56 percent, where many men were killed in the country's civil war in the 1990s, and Andorra 50 percent.

At the bottom of the list are seven countries with no women MPs at all: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Belize, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the Solomon Islands.

Even after the Arab Spring, there is no Arab country where women account for more than 30 percent of MPs. On average, women represent just 10.7 of Arab MPs. The figure was the same the year before.

The low number of women MPs around the world is cause for concern, the report warns. The global average in 2011 was 19.5 percent, just half a percent higher than the year before. “Stronger political will and specific measures are necessary to break the impasse”, UN Women says. The main problem, the body writes, is a lack of women candidates. Women often can't raise enough money or they are put off by the combative character of politics.

In terms of women ministers, the Netherlands ranks 14th, along with Colombia and Germany. cl/rk

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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