Special Interest Groups
There are a variety of special interest groups in Costa Rica. From political groups, women and most recently, several international environmental groups have taken an interest in protecting Costa Rica's natural beauty.
Some political groups driving politics within Costa Rica include:
Authentic Confederation of Democratic Workers (CATD) a Communist party affiliate; Chamber of Coffee Growers; Confederated Union of Workers (CUT) another Communist party affiliate; Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers (CCTD) a Liberation party affiliate; Costa Rican Exporter's Chamber (CADEXCO); Costa Rican Solidarity Movement; Costa Rican Union of Private Sector of Enterprises (UCCAEP); Federation of Public Service Workers (FTSP); National Association for Economic Development (ANFE); National Association of Educators (ANDE); National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP); Rerum Novarum (CTRN) a PLN affiliate.
Women in Politics in Costa Rica
Even though worldwide politics has been in general a male dominated activity, women have made incredible strides in Costa Rica over the past several years. Thanks to Don Pepe Figueres who initiated the adoption of the 1949 Constitution Article 90 came into affect which states that “citizenship is the conjunction of political rights and duties for both sexes”. In 1950, women exercised their right to vote for the very first time to determine the annexation of Tigra and La Fortuna settlements to the province of San Carlos.
By 1953 women were participating in national politics, some figures were elected into congress, and one woman also served as President of the Executive Committee for the first time. Between 1953 and 1986 there were 26 women elected to positions in congress. In 1986, a woman became President of the Legislative Assembly.
In 1990, Costa Rica passed a law for the real equality for women. This law promotes the political participation of women, assigns funds to political parties for this purpose, and established percentages for women’s representation in public office. From 1990 to 1994 women pushed important bills with legislation related to improving the quality of life for all citizens including such issues as environment, budget, and anti-narcotics.
Currently, women represent a little over 47% of the total representatives a number unmatched by any other democratically elected national legislature in the world. This is due to legislature adopted over 12 years ago that consists of three sets of progressively stringent quota laws, while other factors that may have influenced women's electoral representation remained unchanged.
Women in parliament in Costa Rica have brought to the table a significant range of expertise, insight and feminine touch to the political process. Women have also proven their transparency, reliability, and efficiency in the political arena and in regards to social responsibility.
For these reasons, women have achieved a variety of high level positions in the last few years. Costa Rica has even had a woman vice president. Currently in the next presidential elections there is also a woman candidate running who actually has quite a bit of community support and strong political backing from the current President Oscar Arias. This level of activity in government by women is unique behavior found in Costa Rica, especially when compared to other Latin American countries in the region.
This progress was not easily obtained. Domestic obligations and lack of preparation have been the two most prominent obstacles limiting women’s participation and competitiveness in political organizations and government institutions. However, this is not due to a deficiency of talent or capacity for leadership, but a lack of opportunity as well as cultural and social prejudices.