A reshuffle in the Uruguayan Senate, involving the exit of a female senator and her replacement by her male substitute, has brought the contentious issue of quotas for women in politics to the forefront of public debate in the South American nation.
Graciela Bianchi resigned her seat in the Senate with the opposition National Party (PN) on Monday, January 26, leaving Álvaro Delgado as a stand-in, as she concentrated on her post as a deputy for Montevideo, having won both positions in October’s elections. But Delgado’s assumption of her vacant seat has provoked controversy and calls for quota legislation to be revised.Graciela was aptly named, as she responded;
...it was “a great pleasure” to relinquish her post to Delgado.
“People don’t occupy a slot because of their gender, rather because they’re important for a project,” said Bianchi, further describing the PN as “a team, a group of collaborators with the same goals. Therefore nothing comes before that except the common good.”Well, letting the best man or woman win isn't the common good, as las feministas see it.
Following the controversy, Sen. Martha Montaner of the Partido Colorado proposed modifying the quota legislation to “fix shortcomings,” suggesting that the substitute candidates for shortlisted women should also be female.
Lilian Celiberti from feminist group Colectivo Mujer (Woman Collective) agreed: “If the spirit of the law is to increase women participation, then her substitute should also be female.”And in the former Pinochetland, there's trouble brewing too. A new law just passed there says that, “no gender can represent more than 60 percent of all candidates,” but right now men hold about 84% of all legislative positions. While Brazil has found that its quotas are problematic;
In Brazil, meanwhile, local press have reported former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as calling for serious reforms to the governing Workers’ Party (PT) in the face of debilitating corruption scandals, including the scrapping of a gender quota system to which Lula in part attributes the decline.
Moves promoted by his own party in 2011 required that half of key positions be occupied by women, 20 percent by those under 30 years old, and 20 percent by black candidates.Miss machismo?