Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 164th session (Brussels, 16 April 1999)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Informed of the work and recommendations of the Gender Partnership Group set up within the Executive Committee,

Recalling that at its 160th session (April 1997), the Inter-Parliamentary Council instructed the Gender Partnership Group to study "the possibility of establishing in the Union a rule which would apply equally to all delegations failing to include at least one woman among their members and which would decrease by two the number of votes to which those delegations would be entitled at the IPU Conference",

Recalling that Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Union's Statutes strongly encourages National Groups with women MPs to include at least one woman in their delegation to the Union's Meetings,

Taking into account the proportion of men and women MPs in the delegations to the Brussels Inter-Parliamentary Meetings, and the evolution over the past quarter-century in the Inter-Parliamentary Union with regard to the participation of women MPs in its activities,

Taking note of the proportion of men and women within each of the National Parliaments represented at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as shown by the data contained on the Union's Internet site (http://www.ipu.org), updated to 1 April 1999,

Recalling that the Universal Declaration on Democracy, adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in September 1997, states that "the achievement of democracy presupposes a genuine partnership between men and women in the conduct of the affairs of society in which they work in equality and complementarity, drawing mutual enrichment from their differences"; further recalling that the Inter-Parliamentary Council proclaimed in April 1992 that "the concept of democracy will only assume true and dynamic significance when political policies and national legislation are decided upon jointly by men and women with equitable regard for the interests and aptitudes of both halves of the population",

  1. Notes that the proportion of women MPs in delegations to the Inter-Parliamentary Meetings has risen steadily on a regular basis to reach nearly 20 per cent at the Brussels Meetings, but that nearly 30 per cent of parliaments with women members still fail to include women in their delegations;
  2. Welcomes the overall positive trend seen in recent years, and is convinced that it will continue and will be consolidated and that all Parliaments which come under the provisions of Article 11 of the Statutes will take steps to respect them at future meetings;
  3. Therefore decides to postpone until its 166th session (April 2000) any decision concerning the imposition of any form of sanction for non-compliance with these provisions;
  4. Notes that of the Union's 137 Member Parliaments, three have no women among their members, and notes further that in one of the countries concerned, women have yet to be granted the right to vote and to stand for election;
  5. Is of the view that banning women from taking part in the electoral process is no longer tolerable in a modern democracy and that, in all the countries concerned, society as a whole would benefit from women's contribution to the democratic process, which would thus be consolidated accordingly;
  6. Invites the Parliaments of these countries to take all the necessary steps to enable and encourage women's access to these Parliaments in the near future and, in this connection, urges them to resort to the technical support of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, if they deem it appropriate and useful;
  7. Further invites the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians to authorise the delegations of these Parliaments to follow its work as observers and, as appropriate, to enable them to take part in exchanges of views concerning women's participation in the electoral process and political life, so as to create a dynamic fostering women's political integration in the countries concerned.

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