A Decade of Progress: Increased Representation of Women in the National Parliaments of Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica

Kimberly S. Adams


Women in LatinAmerica are rapidly moving up the political ladder against the odds. Currently,the regional average for women serving in the lower chambers of parliament inLatin America exceeds the worldwide average. In slightly over one decade, thepercentage of women serving in the lower chambers of Ecuador, Nicaragua, andCosta Rica increased by large margins (IPU, 2012). While numerousfactors can possibly explain this increase, this paper examines three politicalfactors that may help to explain the increased presence of women serving in thenational parliaments of Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica from 2001 to 2012. Usingthe comparative analysis approach, this work investigates each country based on:1) the role and influence of feminist groups; 2) the adoption and implementationof gender quotas; 3) the country’s level of democracy.  The findings indicate that all three political factors have some influence on the presence of women in parliament.

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