The nation of Iceland was under the impression that it had made history by electing Europe’s first female majority Parliament. However, all hopes were dashed after a process of recounting when the count fell a bit short.
As it turned out, a total of 30 seats out of 63 (47.6%) were won by the women who had contested in the elections. Initially, the results had shown that women had won 33 seats which constitute 52% of the total.
Pitifully, no European country has ever crossed the 50% threshold to form a female majority Parliament. However, earlier Sweden came closest at 47%, discerned from data presented by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
These results show that while there has been progress, men continue to hold a majority of the seats.
Unlike other countries that have established a reservation of seats for women legally, Iceland follows no such rule at the parliamentary level; though for individual parties exists provision to mandate a minimum number of candidature seats for women.
“In a historical and international light, the most significant news is that women are now first time in majority in the Icelandic parliament, and a first in Europe. This is good news,” President Gudni Johannesson had said before the recount, which unsettled the result yet again. The female-majority Parliament was hailed as a landmark decision throughout the continent.
Iceland has consistently been ranked as the most gender-equal nation in the world for 122 years in a row by a World Economic Forum report that was released earlier in March. Historically, Iceland has had some of the most significant decisions to create a country where gender equality is a reality. It was the first country to have a female President as early as 1980. It also brought into place a law for the equal pay of men and women in the year 1961, and currently offers the same parental leave to both men and women.
In the contemporary global scenario, only five countries from around the world have Parliaments where women hold at least fifty percent of the seats. Rwanda is leading the way with women constituting 61.3% of the lower house.
In the nation of Iceland, the current government is led by a coalition that consists of Ms. Jakobsdottir’s Left-Green Movement, the conservative Independence Party and the centrist Progressive Party. They have agreed to cooperate and negotiate further in the future if they continue to hold a majority after the elections.
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