The Embassy of Finland to Kathmandu, IDEA International, Demo Finland and UN Women are organizing on “Electoral System and Women’s Representation in Nepal: Need for Reform?” on 4th March, 2014.
The objective of the seminar is to share comparative knowledge on ensuring women’s representation in Finland and Nepal. It is inaugurated by the Under Secretary of State, Government of Finland, Ms. Anne Sipiläinen at 11:00am. Seminar participants are prominent Nepali politicians and representatives of CSOs, NGOs and INGOs. Speakers include high-level political figures of Nepal and Finland, including former Finnish Minister of International Development, Ms. Heidi Hautala.
The seminar is part of the exhibition titled “100 Years of Women’s Voices and Action in Finland”, featured at the Siddhartha Art Gallery between 10th-15th March, 2014. The exhibition is a visual illustration and celebration of the journey of Finnish women – and men- to gender parity and women’s equal political participation in the country over the past 100 years.
In 1906, the Parliament of Finland became the first parliament in the world to give women the right not only to vote but also to run for office as equals. . Currently, Finland is using ‘fully’ list PR system but without quotas. The system allows voters directly to vote for a particular candidate from a party list, and results are proportionate to the votes the party gets. In Finland, the representation of women in parliament currently stands at 42.5 percent.
Nepal has continued to use the mixed electoral system including the First Past the Post (FPTP) and Proportional Representation (PR) from the first Constituent Assembly (CA) election to the recent CA Election in 2013. At the moment, the representation of women in the second CA is likely to reach maximum 30 percent, and only ten women made it to CA through the FPTP. Meanwhile, suggestions are made to go back to the FPTP system.
According to a press release of Embassy of Finland, the aim of the seminar is to share comparative knowledge on ensuring women’s representation in Finland and Nepal, and to discuss women’s participation in politics with prominent political and civil society representatives of Nepal. The seminar will explore such questions as: What are the lessons learned from the Finnish experience in women’s leadership and political participation? Is the quota system of Nepal working as designed or would it benefit from reform? Does Nepal require a different electoral system for the federal, province and local level?