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Year 2 No. 5 May 2009

Who is who in the electoral world?

Gender in the Electoral Tribunal of Panama

The TE, constitutionally established in article 142 of the Political Constitution of the Republic of Panama, is comprised by three Magistrates and their respective Alternates, appointed by the three branches of the Estate: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.

Also article 125 of the Electoral Code provides the Magistrates of the TE with autonomy in human resources matters such as the appointment and promotion of personnel, as well as autonomy to change the structure of the positions through Agreements Court, steering committee of the agency. And through it the value of the woman has been recognized by appointing women in all the responsibility positions of the organizational and functional structure of the agency.

This is evident, first of all in the designation of the three Alternate Magistrates, a milestone in the history of the Panamanian electoral justice; beginning with the fact that for the first time, and as a result of the constitutional reform of 2004, the designation of one alternate for each Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal is allowed; and then, because for the first time are appointed as alternate three women, law professionals whom at the time of their respective appointment were officers within the agency which guarantees the institutionality, and a 50% participation on women is established at the managerial level of this agency.

But this is not completely new within the TE. Among the human resources of the agency, the women in permanent positions represent 62% whereas women in temporary positions are 56.05%. This information becomes more relevant when analyzing that 66% of them occupy managerial positions nationwide; and that 75% of the electoral criminal judicatory is exercised by female judges.

In the Panamanian electoral agency, under the vision of the Magistrates who rule it, the woman have moved laterally, and with her efforts, efficiency, responsibility and dynamism has re-written the erstwhile phrase that now reeds: "NEXT to a great man there is always A GREAT WOMAN".

Women are the majority of the permanent staff of the Electoral Tribunal and there is a 50% level of participation of women in the directive level of this agency.