This strategic objective formed part of the Platform for Action of the United Nations Fourth World Conference for Women (Beijing, 1995). The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) elaborated in 1994 a [Plan of Action to Remedy Present Imbalances in the Participation of Men and Women in Political Life]. This recognizes the danger of placing emphasis on women only through any system of quotas. It therefore affirms that on a strictly interim basis, affirmative action measures may be adopted. But wherever the measure chosen is a quota system, it is proposed that the quota should not target women but that, in a spirit of equality, it may be established that neither sex may occupy a proportion of parliamentary seats inferior to a given percentage. Women Ministers of Parliament have set up a permanent consultative mechanism: they meet on the eve of the IPUs statutory Conferences to ensure that the views and interests of women are taken into consideration.
The ten countries in the world with the highest percentage of women Ministers of Parliament are: Seychelles (46); Finland (39); Norway (36); Sweden (34); Denmark (33); Netherlands (29); Iceland (24); Cuba (23); Austria (21); China (21). Countries where the proportion of women in Parliament has risen by 5percentage points or more since 1987 include among others: Seychelles (22% rise); Spain (10% rise); Austria, the Netherlands (9% rise); Algeria (8% rise); Dominican Republic, Finland, Honduras, Suriname (7% rise).