The negotiation table needs women and their perspectives

Photo: Sofía Jaimes Barreto


We all wish that the México talks put Venezuela back on the path of sustainable and equitable progress. In order to be successful, the political negotiation demands more female representatives and their perspectives.

By Caracas ChroniclesBetilde Muñoz-Pogossian

Sep 15, 2021

Venezuelan women are empowered. We have many examples of venezolanas leading the response to the humanitarian crisis locally and are vital advocates for democracy, human rights and the Rule of Law for the nation.

However, the harsh reality is that Venezuelan political women, of all political tendencies and ideologies, continue to have a limited representation in spaces of power.

And I’m not making this up. The data confirms it.

Whereas women are 50% of the Venezuelan population …

  • In 20 years of negotiations between the Chávez and Maduro regimes and the opposition, the opposition was represented by 25 people, all men.
  • If we include the earlier efforts of the Boston Group (2002), there was only one woman from the opposition in 20 years. In contrast, chavismo’s delegation included at least one woman in all its delegations.
  • For the 2019 Barbados and Oslo negotiation processes, there were no women present.
  • If we look at the process of designing public policies for “the morning after” also known as Plan País, in other words, proposals for the period immediately after the democratic transition, only three of the 20 deputies who worked on it were women.
  • The current negotiation process facilitated by Norway is the exception. Perhaps an expected outcome considering Norway serves as a mediator, and their commitment to advocating for women’s empowerment in their foreign policy is evident. The Venezuelan opposition delegation of nine members include a single female negotiator, and another woman as secretary (a role that fits into stereotypical female roles, by the way), and the regime’s delegation includes three out of nine. A total of five out of the 18 people negotiating peace and democracy for Venezuela.

When it comes to political representation in elected office, I reviewed data from 2000, when affirmative action measures started being implemented in Venezuela, and until 2015 (the last time we had an internationally recognized election). During this period, a total of 95 women were elected, versus 568 men. That is, women’s political representation has historically been around 14%, far from what they represent in the population and the electoral roll (50%), and far from the critical mass of 30% that the first quota law sought, or the 50% parity that the regulations subsequently approved by the CNE sought. Even in the case of the last elections recognized as democratic by the international community in 2015, which used the Special Regulation to Guarantee the Rights of Political Participation on an Equal Basis in the Election of Deputies of the National Assembly 2015, the election resulted in the majority of women being elected to alternate positions. And it was only around 16.6%.

Read More: Caracas Chronicles – The negotiation table needs women and their perspectives

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