“Women’s place is in the House …of Representatives”

 A slogan of the Trinidad and Tobago NGO Network

Please click on questions below to view more information.


Why is women's political representation so important?

  • Women know their own interests
  • Increased numbers of women bring critical mass necessary for confident demands for gender-responsive governance
  • Increased representation can translate into gender sensitive legislation and policies

What do the number tell us?

    Country(elections) % Women in lower or single house % Women in upper house or Senate
    Guyana (2006) 29 --
    Trinidad & Tobago 26.8 41.9
    Grenada(2008) 13.3 40.0
    Suriname(2005) 24.5 --
    St. Vincent & the Grenadines (2005) 18.2 --
    Jamaica(2007) 13.3 14.3
    Dominica(2005) 12.9 --
    Antigua &Barbuda (2004) 10.5 17.6
    Barbados (2008) 10 19
    St. Kitts &Nevis (2004) 6.7 --
    St. Lucia (2006) 5.6 18.2
    Haiti (2006) 4.1 13.3
    Belize (2008) 0 33

What's being done?

Some of the measures taken by Caribbean states to increase women’s political representation include:

  • Guyana has introduced mandatory representation of 33% of women on the lists of all political parties contesting national and regional elections.
  • In Dominica , the government sought to increase women’s involvement in politics at the local government level by putting forward a policy of nominating women to fill at least 2 of the 3 positions on councils, if they were not among those elected.

Since 1995, women’s organizations in the Caribbean have pursued the agenda of increasing women’s voice and influence in political processes, focusing most extensively on capacity building for women’s participation in elections. In this work a vibrant partnership of activists, political actors and the academic community has been forged. This network is responsible for the training of women politicians as well as the development of women’s political agendas and women’s political caucuses such as in Jamaica and Suriname. The sustained nature of this work has now led to the formation of a network, Caribbean Institute of Women in Leadership (CIWIL).

The way forward?

More active involvement of women at decision-making levels in politics will be realized through actions at multiple levels:
  • Implementing recommendations made by the CEDAW committee such as the use of temporary special measures, for example, quotas, to increase the number of women in decision-making bodies at all levels and in all areas.
  • Political parties actively promoting women candidates in general and local government elections.
  • Establishing a mentoring system between seasoned women politicians and women interested in politics
  • Supporting and addressing needs that have already been identified in different territories such as training among parliamentarians in gender budgeting; and the development of women’s caucuses within parliaments.
  • Engaging men as partners to advocate for gender and social equity in political agendas.