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Female Parliamentarians Have Increased Globally: Inter-Parliamentary Union

Women Represent One-Quarter of the World’s Parliamentarians

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Female rights
While female representation in national parliaments has increased, gender parity remains a distant dream. Pixabay

By Lisa Schlein

The number of female parliamentarians in the world has more than doubled since the groundbreaking U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 25 years ago, the Inter-Parliamentary Union said Friday. Part of the reason may be quotas.

While female representation in national parliaments has increased, gender parity remains a distant dream. However, significant changes have occurred. In 1995, the top-ranked country in terms of female members of parliament was Sweden, followed by other Nordic and developed countries.

This year, Rwanda, with more than 60% female MPs, beat 171 other countries for the top spot, followed by Cuba, Bolivia and United Arab Emirates. Sweden has been bumped down to seventh position.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union finds countries in the Americas have made the most progress in terms of representation of women in parliament, followed by Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and Asia. The Pacific, which holds up the bottom of the rankings, is the only region where some parliaments have no women. IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong said women fare best in countries that apply quota systems for their representation.

Female rights
Spectators chant “Justice” in Spanish after Chilean singer Mon Laferte was joined by Mexico’s Vivir Quintana and a chorus of dozens to perform an anti-femicide song titled “Song without fear,” during a concert by female performers on the eve of International Women’s Day, in the Zocalo in Mexico City. VOA

“Wherever quotas are being used during electoral processes, we see an increase in the women’s representation when compared with the countries where there are no quota systems. So, we continue to lay emphasis on the need for quotas to be legislated in order to achieve gender equality,” he said.

Chungong told VOA statistics show strong female participation in parliaments leads to better-designed and -implemented gender equality laws.

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“It is more often possible to address some of those issues that may be specific to women; such as, maternal and newborn and child health to be on the agenda, women’s political participation, violence against women, sexism. Those things tend to come to the fore when you have strong women’s participation in parliament,” he said.

Chungong said he believes the MeToo movement could help boost women’s political representation. He said the movement directly confronts sexism, sexual harassment and gender-based violence, which help keep women from seeking and winning electoral office. (VOA)

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Marijuana Intake Can Impair Fertility in Females, Says Study

This implies lower quality and lower fertilisation capability, therefore lower fertility in the end

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Marijuana
Marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used recreational drug by people of reproductive age. Pixabay

Female eggs exposed a psychoactive ingredient in marijuana have an impaired ability to produce viable embryos and are significantly less likely to result in a viable pregnancy, claims a study.

Marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used recreational drug by people of reproductive age The rise in marijuana use has occurred at the same time that the percentage of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) ingredient in the drug has increased.

Currently, patients seeking infertility treatments are advised against cannabis use, but the scientific evidence backing this statement is weak.

“This makes it difficult for physicians to properly advise patients undergoing in vitro fertilization,” said study researcher Megan Misner from University of Guelph in Canada.

In the study, published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, researchers treated cow oocytes, or female eggs, with concentrations of THC equivalent to therapeutic and recreational doses.

The oocytes were collected and matured into five groups: untreated, control, low THC, mid THC and high THC. For the findings, the eggs’ developmental rates and gene expression were measured.

The researchers evaluated the ability of embryos to reach critical stages of development at specific time points. With higher concentrations of THC, they found a significant decrease and delay in the ability of the treated oocytes to reach these checkpoints.

“This is a key indicator in determining the quality and developmental potential of the egg,” Misner said. THC exposure led to a significant decrease in the expression of genes called connexins, which are present at increased levels in higher quality oocytes.

Marijuana, Cannabis, Weed, Bud, Green, Pot, Medical
Female eggs exposed a psychoactive ingredient in marijuana have an impaired ability to produce viable embryos and are significantly less likely to result in a viable pregnancy, claims a study. Pixabay

Poorer quality oocytes, with lower connexin expression levels, have been shown to lead to a poorer embryo development. ”

This embryo would be less likely to proceed past the first week of development, and thus lead to infertility,” Misner said. According to the researchers, preliminary data also showed THC affected the activity of a total of 62 genes in the treatment groups compared with the non-treated groups.

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“This implies lower quality and lower fertilisation capability, therefore lower fertility in the end,” she said. (IANS)