GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A video of a Jordanian parliament session went viral Dec. 3. The clip, shared widely as “Sit down, Hind!,” shows parliament member Yahya al-Saud cursing the quota system that brought female member Hind al-Fayez to parliament in 2013 after he repeatedly demanded that she sit down and listen to him. Though it may have angered some, the quota system is the only solution guaranteeing the presence of women in Arab parliaments.
A 2006 study of the media coverage of electoral campaigns by researcher Nibal Thawabteh stated that the percentage of women in Arab parliaments stood at 4.6%, compared to 12% in African parliaments and 16% in Europe and the Americas. The average female representation in world parliaments does not exceed 13%, the same percentage of women in the Palestinian parliament.