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Beyond Parity in Figures: The Challenges in Reality of Municipal Women Councillors in Bolivia

Journal article
Authors Edmé Domínguez Reyes
Marcia Pacheco
Published in Iberoamericana – Nordic Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Volume 47
Issue 1
Pages 1-12
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Global Studies, Human Ecology
School of Global Studies, The Ibero-American Institute
Pages 1-12
Language en
Keywords women , Bolivia , municipal councilors , masculinity , political harassment
Subject categories Sociology


Bolivia is a country that has advanced substantially regarding women’s representation in politics. In fact, at a global level, Bolivia rivals Rwanda at both the national and local representation levels. This is particularly true at the local level where several women from all social conditions and ethnicity groups have become the majority of municipal councillors, even though women mayors are still a rarity. However, parity in figures does not mean parity in reality. Many of these women councillors face hard realities impregnated with discrimination and harassment of all sorts. Moreover, some mechanisms—like the rotation principle designed to increase participation and democracy—have been turned against many of these women councillors. Based on a field work using interviews and participant observation as well as findings of previous relevant works, this article discusses these problems and offers an analysis as to the causes of such a situation where parity in figures is not reflected in shared power and equal respect in the daily realities at the local level.

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