ASUNCION – Female members of Paraguay’s Congress on Wednesday demanded action, as opposed to just speeches, in support of women’s rights and called for the approval of the Democratic Parity bill.
The bill demands equal representation for men and women at all political levels, establishes incentives for parties to allow participation by women and establishes sanctions – such as the rejection of electoral rolls – if the law is not adhered to.
Two years after being introduced in Congress, the bill may go back to the Senate, said governing Colorado Party leader Sen. Lilian Samaniego, a member of the Democratic Parity Impulse Group (GIPD).
“We have spoken to the president of the Senate, Sen. Fernando Lugo,” she said, surrounded by female lawmakers of different parties. “We have asked him for this bill to be debated next Thursday and we extracted from him his promise to request it next Monday of the General Committee, where the agenda is drafted.”
Women want “no more speeches, but rather concrete action,” opposition Sen. Esperanza Martinez said, expressing confidence that the bill will move forward.
Colorado Party Sen. Blanca Ovelar, who also denounced the lack of support for the measure among some of her male colleagues, defended the presence of women in politics for “the construction of society.”
Feminist party Kuña Pyrenda founder Lilian Soto urged Paraguayan women to come together in support of the bill, regardless of ideology.
“The Democratic Parity Impulse Group was able to get this far because we have overcome our differences,” she said. “That is the only reason why Paraguayan women have achieved so much.”
Next Thursday, March 8, is International Women’s Day.