The Mauritian Election of 2005: An Unprecedented Increase of Women in Parliament

By Yoon, Mi Yung; Bunwaree, Sheila | Journal of International Women's Studies, May 2008 | Go to article overview

The Mauritian Election of 2005: An Unprecedented Increase of Women in Parliament


Yoon, Mi Yung, Bunwaree, Sheila, Journal of International Women's Studies


Abstract

Before the 2005 election, women's legislative representation in Mauritius had always been one of the lowest in the African continent, and the lowest in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Although the number of women in the Mauritian legislature has fluctuated over rime, the latest election on July 3, 2005 brought an unprecedented increase in the number of women from 4 (5.7 per cent) to 12 (17.1 per cent) in its 70-member legislature. Before this increase, the number of female members of parliament (MPs) had never exceeded six. If so, what contributed to such a sharp increase? This study addresses this question by examining the factors that helped bring about this unpreledented increase. Specifically, we discuss the political experience and name recognition of certain female candidates, efforts of women's NGOs, effective matching of female candidates to the profiles of constituencies, contagion of nominating women, and women's effective election campaigns as the major factors. These factors were also present in the previous election years to some extent, but they were more visible and better orchestrated in 2005.

Keywords: Mauritius election, women and politics, women's parliamentary representation, Mauritian politics

Introduction

Mauritius, which consists of the island of Mauritius and three dependencies (Rodrigues, Saint Brandon Island, and Agalega Island), is home to 1.24 million people, mainly descendants of the French, Indo-Hindus, Indo-Muslims, Chinese, and Africans. Today, Indo-Mauritians account for 68 per cent of the population, Creoles 27 per cent, Sino-Mauritians 3 per cent, and Franco-Mauritians 2 per cent, respectively. (1) Its history of human migration has made Mauritius ethnically diverse. The Portuguese discovered uninhabited Mauritius first in 1505, but did not stay. The Dutch occupied the country from 1598 to 1710. The French followed the Dutch by establishing colonial rule in 1715, but were replaced by the British in 1810. During French colonial rule, slaves were imported from Madagascar and mainland Africa to work on sugar plantations. When slavery was abolished in 1835, the British, then the colonial master, imported indentured laborers from several parts of India. (2) Mauritius gained independence from the British in 1968. While many other ethnically diverse African countries have suffered from recurring or prolonged ethnic conflicts, Mauritius has enjoyed remarkable stability, with a solid track record of multiparty democracy since its independence. The Freedom House Survey has designated Mauritius 'free' every year except for the period 1978-1981, when it was labeled 'partly free'. Like its politics, its economy has also distinguished the country from the rest of Africa. As of 2004, its gross domestic product per capita totaled $4,889. (3) The Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program, a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic areas of human development (a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living), ranked Mauritius 63rd among 177 countries in 2004. (4) In sub-Saharan Africa, only Seychelles held a higher rank than Mauritius.

But despite these achievements, Mauritian female legislative representation had always been one of the lowest in the continent, and the lowest in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), until the latest election on July 3, 2005, which brought a sharp increase in the number of women flora 4 (5.7 per cent) to 12 (17.1 per cent) in its 70-member legislature. Before this leap, as Figure I shows, the number of female members of parliament (MPs) had never exceeded six. If so, what contributed to such a sharp increase, particularly given that it occurred without any electoral mechanisms favorable to women, such as proportional representation, party quotas, or reserved seats for women? Even though the percentage of women MPs reached in 2005 was only 17. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Mauritian Election of 2005: An Unprecedented Increase of Women in Parliament
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.