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POLAND: Women in local elections

The State Electoral Committee published statistics regarding registered candidates for legislative bodies (regional assemblies, municipal councils), as well as executive offices (wojts, mayors and presidents). There is a significantly larger number of women running for office during this year’s local elections than previously. In total, 1277 female candidates are registered for executive offices and approximately 75 600 for legislative bodies. This, respectively, provides for a 18% and 41% share of candidates.

This is partially the result of the gender parity bill, which was introduced in 2010 – it imposed an obligation that electoral lists to legislative bodies in all elections must consist of at least 35% female candidates.  Over years, the number of female candidates for executive bodies in local elections has also been proportionally rising at an average of 2% per elections (2006 – 10%, 2010 – 12%, 2012, 14%). There are now municipalities in which only women are registered candidates. Still, there are areas in Poland were there are no female candidates – the lowest proportion of women in local politics is in the Świętokrzyskie voivodship. The rising number of female candidates is a sign of a developing political scene, which is becoming increasingly diverse and socially inclusive.