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Africa - Editor's Picks - September 11, 2022

Senegal Leads Way on Women Legislators Regardless of the Challenges Ahead

As from Monday, Senegal marks to be West Africa’s largest-ever proportion of women MPs in a newly elected legislature.

As cautioned in politics by Aminata Toure; a former prime minister and incoming MP for President Macky, female pioneers encounter resistance and suspicion.

In Senegal’s next National Assembly, more than 44 percent of seats in will be held by women. This marks Senegal fourth in Africa and eighteenth in the world for gender parity in parliament.

“You’re much more scrutinised… they don’t forgive you for any mistakes. I think all women in power would tell you the same,” Aminata Toure told AFP.

Candidate lists are often topped by men and, when they are odd-numbered, tend to have one more man than woman, which explains why female representation remains below 50 percent, a National Assembly spokeswoman said.

Mame Madior Boye was the Senegal’s first woman prime minister who served from 2001 to 2002 then followed by Toure, in office from 2013 to 2014.

The number of women to be named to ministerial jobs by Sall is a point of concern. Civil society groups are campaigning hard for a female speaker of the assembly which is a role never held by a woman.

“We really want a woman leading the 2022-2027 parliament. If we have a woman, a lot of things can be changed,” said Coumba Gueye, executive secretary of the Association of Senegalese Women Lawyers.

Toure is among those wanting parity to be extended to the cabinet and even to the private sector.

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