The legislature of the province of Buenos Aires has approved a much anticipated gender parity law, establishing equal representation on electoral ballots.
This law, which amends Article 32 of the provincial Electoral Act, aims to reduce the proliferation of gender inequality, and increase the participation rate of women in provincial governance.
In addition to requiring the placement of both male and female candidates on ballot lists, and observing a strict 50/50 integration split, the law also dictates that, in the case of an odd number ballot list, the difference between the total number of men and women candidates cannot be more than one.
Many lawmakers and political commentators were quick to offer their praise for the provincial legislation, clearly satisfied to be tackling a controversial issue that has yet to be fully addressed at the national level. “Today politics triumphed over prejudice. In a few years, they will say ‘look at what the women had to fight for!’” acclaimed Maria del Huerto Ratto, member of the political party Renewal Front.
Congresswoman and “Let’s Change” party member Sandra Paris shared similar sentiments: “Today we are making this change in our country and in our province. We demand a quality democracy, and we must work together for gender parity, understanding that there are people who chose to change their identity, and that they as well are interested in this political decision that we are taking today.”
Other lawmakers, however, were not so enthusiastic, including fellow leftists. Guillermo Kane, of the Frente Izquierda (FIT), strongly protested the reforms, indicating his belief that the law is actually a step back in the fight for women’s rights:
“This law puts obstacles to a greater role for women. In La Plata the FIT candidate lists were 70% women, but with this law, that could not happen,” said Kane. “On the other hand, we have presented in this Legislature projects to create an Autonomous Council of Women, a draft protocol for action in the case of disappeared persons, and to combat human trafficking.”
Originally sponsored by the Frente Renovador, the party of former presidential hopeful Sergio Massa, the new provincial amendment comes forth at a time when the issue of gender disparity remains a hotly debated topic in the National Congress.
It is hoped that this new development at the provincial level will increase the pressure for action on the part of national legislators.