Friday, May 22, 2009

Paraguay: Women & Politics

From ISP News (April):
For the first time in Paraguayan history, a woman is running for president in the elections on Apr. 20, as the candidate of the Colorado Party, which has governed this country continuously for 61 years.

However, a number of women’s organisations say that Blanca Ovelar, a 50-year-old rural schoolteacher and former Education Minister, was nominated because the Colorados want to stay in power rather than because they are taking gender issues seriously.

Maggy Balbuena, of the National Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Working Women’s Organisations (CONAMURI), says Ovelar does not represent an option for change.

Women gained the right to vote in 1961, but there were no women ministers in the cabinet until 1989, when then President Andrés Rodríguez (1989-1993) appointed a woman health minister.

According to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank, 10 percent of the cabinet is currently made up of women, one of the lowest rates in Latin America.

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