Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Women’s representation in local politics: Evidence from The Philippines

Valente, Jordan and Moreno, Frede (2014): Women’s representation in local politics: Evidence from The Philippines.

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Although at the beginning of the 21st century, over 95 percent of all countries in the world have granted women the right to vote and the right to stand for election (Ballington & Karam, 2005), gender equality in terms of representation in political structures remains to be a challenge around the world. This study seeks to determine the level of political representation of women at the level of the smallest unit of Philippine government—the village or barangay. Data comparison—within a span of 11 years—using the results of the July 15, 2002 and October 28, 2013 barangay elections, shows an increase of women’s representation in the 98 barangays of Zamboanga City, Philippines. After the 2013 barangay elections, the total number of female Barangay Captains increased to 14 compared to 8 in the 2002 election results. A total of 159 female Barangay Councilors were also elected in 2013, an increase of 14 percent compared to the 139 female councilors who won in the 2002 elections. The increasing number of elected female barangay officials in 2013 reached 173 women (22 percent) compared to 147 (19 percent) in 2002. In year 2013, a total of 147 women (18.75 percent) were elected as barangay officials out of 784 barangay positions throughout the city. The study concludes that women’s participation in politics at the barangay level is directly and inversely proportional to the representation of men in the same political structures. While existing laws and pertinent public policies promoting women’s equal representation with men in local politics and the efforts to improve the political landscape for women around the world, still the political structures, even at the smallest unit of the government, is a male-dominated arena.

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