Becoming an MP can be a complex and difficult journey. In many respects, the job is viewed as one which requires experience and therefore suited to older people. Meanwhile, women face all sorts of hurdles when running for elected office. This includes discrimination, patriarchy, violence and the ever present glass ceiling. According to the 2018 Statistics South Africa's (Stats SA) mid-year population estimate report, more than half of the population (51%) is female and young people between the ages of 15 to 34 years old constitute 35.7% of the total population. Given these statistics, it is worth reflecting on the age and gender composition of Parliament (the National Assembly specifically) to see how this is reflected in this body.
Looking at the sixth Parliament, the data shows that it is still male dominated and disproportionately older. However, a comparison with previous and other parliaments show that progress is being made in both areas.
*Numerically, the following parties have the highest amount of young MPs: DA (20), ANC (14) and EFF (6).
In terms of proportionality, the top ranked parties are: FF+ (30%), IFP (28.6%) and DA (23.8%).
At the start of the Fourth Parliament, the National Assembly table staff reported 68% new MPs. The turnover for the start of the Fifth Parliament was better with around 60% new MPs. The number of newcomers also decreased at the start of the Sixth Parliament with 58% being freshmen lawmakers.
*This data is based on data as of 7 June 2019
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