Gender Quotas Database

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Central America

Panama has a Unicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and at the sub-national level. 16 of 71 (23%) seats in the Asamblea Nacional / National Assembly are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of parliament Unicameral

Are there legislated quotas

For the Single / Lower house? Yes
For the Upper house? No
For the Sub-national level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas?

Adopted by political parties? No
Is there additional information? Yes

Single / Lower House

Asamblea Nacional / National Assembly

Quota at the Sub-National Level

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional information

The Republic of Panama is divided politically into 9 provinces, 75 districts or municipalities, 3 province-level indigenous comarcas (counties) and 620 corregimientos (towns), two of which are located within comarcas. "The Municipality is the autonomous form of political organization of a community within a district." (Chap. 2, Title VIII, Art.229, 1992 Constitution).

The electoral quota is incorporated to the Electoral Code in 1997 with Law 22, article 182-A and subsequentely in the modifications to the Electoral Code in 2007, leaving a quota of 30% for all candidatures to positions within parties and popularly-elected positions. Chapter III, Articles 236 and 239, Law 54 of 2012 reforms the Electoral Code and in article 239 establishes that internal party elections and primaries, the candidatures will be performed guaranteeing 50% for women as a minimum (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean [ECLAC], n.d.). 

In summary, before the introduction of the 50% rule, the law mandated the requirement of a minimum 30% women in nomination lists.


Legal Sources:

Other Sources:

Additional reading

  • See the latest updates on Panama on iKNOW Politics
  • Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean: Panamá (Official Website)
  • Welp, Y. (December 3, 2020). The politics of Panama in the pandemic. [Graduate Institute Geneva]
  • UN Women. (2015). Panama commits to greater political participation and the eradication of violence against women.
  • Arriola, E. R. (2009). Gender, Globalization and Women’s Issues in Panama City: A Comparative Inquiry. The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, 41(1), 19–41.
  • Htun, M. N. & Jones, M. P. 2002. Engendering the Right to Participate in Decision-Making: Electoral Quotas and Women's Leadership in Latin America. N. Craske & M. Molyneux(ed.) Gender and the Politics of Rights and Democracy in Latin America. New York: Palgrave. pp. 32-56.
  • Htun, M. N. 2002. Mujeres y poder político en Latinoamérica, in International IDEA, Mujeres en el Parlamento. Más allá de los números, Stockholm: International IDEA, pp. 19-44.
  • Peschard, J. 2002. ‘El sistema de cuotas en América Latina. Panorama general,’ in International IDEA. Mujeres en el Parlamento. Más allá de los números, Stockholm: International IDEA, pp. 173-186.
  • Women's Leadership Conference of the Americas. 2001. Women and Power in the Americas: A Report Card. Washington: Women's Leadership Conference of the Americas.
  • Htun, M. N. 1998. Women's Political Participation, Representation and Leadership in Latin America. Issue Brief, Women's Leadership Conference of the Americas.
  • Panama Parliament website,

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