Women’s participation in politics in Mongolia still faces many obstacles. Although women in Mongolia enjoy the right of equality in certain sectors of civil and political life, it remains evident that women are absent from the highest levels of political decision-making at both the national and local levels. Women possess equal voting rights to men, and it is generally accepted that women vote freely without pressure from males – although, 1 in 4 Mongolians assert women should not be making their own choice at the ballot box without the advice of men. Over recent years, women’s groups have made important strides in empowering women and raising awareness about women’s rights. However, women and women’s concerns remain marginalized in society. Women are generally in support of public meetings to discuss their issues and concerns.
Participation of woman in social and economic sectors is stronger as women make up 51.7% of the total population. More than 70% of workers in the education, health and social sectors are women and they have shouldered responsibility in these sectors very well indeed. However, it still remains a paradox that more than 90% of the people in positions of power in Mongolia are males.
In 2011, legislated candidate quota was introduced into Mongolia’s electoral legislation, requiring that at least 20 % of candidates on lists presented by political parties for both types of contests (majority and proportional) shall be women (Article 27.1,Election of the Parliament (State Great Hural), December 15, 2011.
In the 2012 elections, the 20 per cent legislated candidate quota for women was applied for the first time. The law does not provide a ranking order pertaining to the placement of the required 20 per cent of women candidates in parties’ candidate lists. However, the Law on Election of the Parliament (the State Great Hural) does require parties to determine the candidate lists through ‘a secret ballot and majority vote based on democratic principles in a party congress’ and ‘to arrange no more than 48 candidates in order of districts and no more than 28 candidates in order of the number and percentage of votes obtained by each candidates in the meeting of a party held to determine the composition of a candidate list (Article 27.4 and 27.5.4). As a result of this reform, although only 11 (14 per cent) women were elected, it marked an improvement from the previous elections, where only three (4 per cent) women were elected.
Eleven parties are registered to run in the June 2012 elections, and each party will have to try and reach a target of 20% women in this election as this is the new quota that replaced the previous quota of 15% of women candidates when the new election law got passed by parliament last year on 15 December.
According to the IPU’s ranking of women in parliament, Mongolia has been positioned at 93th as from 2012 Elections as there is 14.5% of women MPs (11 out of 76) elected in 2012 Elections for the Lower House representatives. In 2008 Elections, only 3 women were elected. The result has given more optimism of increasing women participation at the decision-making level.
Otgoo Jargal, Mongolian Women’s Participation in Politics, Future Challenges, May 15, 2012,
Wendy Zeldin, Mongolia: Election Law Amended, New Election System Adopted, Library of Congress, Jan 26, 2012,
International IDEA Stockholm University and Inter-Parliamentary Union, Mongolia, Quota Project, http://www.quotaproject.org/uid/countryview.cfm?CountryCode=MN.
Pearly Jacob, Mongolia: Can New Electoral Law Help Women Enter Parliament?, Eurasia Net, Jun 27, 2012,
Michelle Tolson, Progress for women now moving swiftly in Mongolia, Thomson Reuters Foundation News, Sep 21, 2012,