Gender Quotas Database

Country Data



Panama (Republic of Panama)

Panama (Republic of Panama) has a Unicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house. 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 Sub-National Level? No

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? No

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 1, 2022

Single/Lower House

Asamblea Nacional / National Assembly

Total seats 71
Total Women 16
% Women 23%
Election Year 2019
Electoral System FPTP List PR
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas Constitution  
Electoral law

Article 303 of the Electoral Code establishes that for primary and until the general elections there is a quota of 50% women. Political parties have to fulfill  the quota to be elected  or the list will not be admited by the Electoral Tribunal. 

The article also add that only a lower percentage would be admited when  the Female Secretary can certify that there is a lower femenin participation than the percentage established. In those cases, political parties will be able to complete the lists.

Legal sanctions for non-compliance No

The lists that do not fulfill the gender quotas requirement of 50% will not be admited.

Rank order/placement rules No None
Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? Yes

at least 20% of the public funding allocated to civic-political education, must be for the development of exclusive activities for the training of women.

See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

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.





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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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,

Additional reading

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