International Reporting: From the United Nations
- Only 22% of all national parliamentarians were female as of August 2015, a slow increase from 11.3% in 1995.
- As of August 2015, 11 women served as Head of State and 14 served as Head of Government.
- Rwanda had the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide. Women there have won 63.8% of seats in the lower house.
- Globally, there are 37 States in which women account for less than 10% of parliamentarians in single or lower houses, as of August 2015, including 6 chambers with no women at all.
Wide variations remain in the average percentages of women parliamentarians in each region, across all chambers (single, lower and upper houses). As of August 2015, these were: Nordic countries, 41.1%; Americas, 25.5%; Europe excluding Nordic countries, 24.4%; sub-Saharan Africa, 23.0%; Asia, 18.4%; Middle East and North Africa, 17.1%; and the Pacific, 15.7%.
- As of January 2015, only 17% of government ministers were women, with the majority overseeing social sectors, such as education and the family.
- Women’s representation in local governments has made a difference. Research on panchayats (local councils) in India discovered that the number of drinking water projects in areas with female-led councils was 62% higher than in those with male-led councils. In Norway, a direct causal relationship between the presence of women in municipal councils and childcare coverage was found.
- 30% is widely considered an important benchmark for women’s representation. As of January 2015, 41 single or lower houses were composed of more than 30% women, including 11 in Africa and 9 in Latin America. Out of the 41 countries, 34 had applied some form of quotas opening space for women’s political participation. Specifically, 17 use legislative candidate quotas; 6 use reserve seats; and in a further 11, parties have adopted voluntary quotas.
- In countries with proportional electoral systems, women hold 25.2% of the seats. This compares with 19.6% using the plurality-majority electoral system, and 22.7% using a mixed system.
- More women in politics does not necessarily correlate with lower levels of corruption, as is often assumed. Rather, democratic and transparent politics is correlated with low levels of corruption, and the two create an enabling environment for more women to participate.