Few Women Run for Mayor in Guanacaste

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Although the Electoral Code requires equal rights and gender equality in the electoral process from the political parties, in Guanacaste only 15 female candidates are running for mayor, while the number of men adds up to 55 contestants.

Despite being a very low number— only 23% of the candidates— participation of women in local politics has increased compared to the 2010 mayoral elections, in which only 12% were women.

In Guanacaste, the party that supplies more women as candidates to occupy the mayor’s office is the National Liberation Party (PLN- Partido Liberacion Nacional) o, with four out of 12, counting the chairmanship of Colorado. In contrast, the Christian Social Republican (PRSC- Partido Republicano Social Cristiano) Party does not have any woman out of 10 candidates province-wide.

As for the number of women per canton, of the five candidates for Carrillo and Tilaran, there are no women. Likewise, there is no woman among the four for La Cruz. Meanwhile, Nandayure has seven candidates but only one is female. The canton with greater gender equity is Hojancha, where two out of four candidates are women.

The data shows that there is still a lot of ground to cover for women to catch up to men in this kind of position, due to which organizations like the National Institute for Women (INAMU- Instituto Nacional de la Mujer) conduct campaigns to promote the active participation of women in electoral processes. At least that was what Juliana Sibaja, assistant minister of the status of women, made known.

“Historically we women have been excluded. This gap is reflected in numbers since in 2010, only 12% took office as mayors nationwide, and this has been a trend. Equality in the political participation of women is important to INAMU in the practice of democracy. We have conducted media campaigns to empower women, since by right and by justice, we should have equal participation,” said Sibaja.

The female candidate for mayor of Bagaces from the New Generation Party, Juanita Sequeira, feels that much of the low female partition is due to fear.

“We women have the ability to fill any position. We are trained from the way in which we manage the home and family. We women know that if we are disorganized, the family falls apart, and we have proven to be efficient when it comes to holding public office. What happens is that it is really hard for women to decide to participate in politics, perhaps out of fear. I think the opportunity is open to us. We women are the ones who have to decide,” Sequeira said.

Article 2 of the Electoral Code states that political parties should implement apply equality in electoral nominations and requires equality as regards candidates for mayors nationwide, which means that each male mayoral candidate should be accompanied by a female candidate for vice mayor.