The Newsletter 68 Summer 2014

The challenges to female representation in Asian democracies

Timothy S. RichElizabeth Gribbins

Political life in Asian countries is often characterized as a man’s world, especially compared to its Western counterparts. Yet we have also seen increasing electoral opportunities for women in the region. Since 2000 alone, women have been elected prime minister in Bangladesh (Khaleda Zia in 2001; Sheikh Hasina in 2008) and Thailand (Yingluck Shinatwatra in 2011), and elected president in the Philippines and Indonesia (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Megawati Sukarnoputri both in 2001) as well as South Korea (Park Geun Hye in 2012). Furthermore, major parties, including the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Taiwan, have nominated a female presidential candidate (Tsai Ing-Wen in 2012).