Half of the world’s population are women, but today women only hold 24.3% of all seats in parliaments and senates globally. And the most recent world rankings from the Inter-Parliamentary Union show that the countries doing well are not the ones you might expect.
A study by the Inter-Parliamentary Union released ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8 ranked countries based on what percentage of their lawmaking bodies was made up of women. Based on government data provided as of Jan. 1, Rwanda was ranked 1st while Nigeria was ranked 181st, with women making up just 5.6 percent of Nigeria’s House of Representatives. That’s compared with a global average of 24.3 percent.
The percentage for Nigeria’s Senate is slightly higher, however, with women making up 6.4 percent.
Rwanda is Number One
In every year since 2004, Rwanda has had more women in parliament than any other country around the world. For the current year, Rwanda has a record 61.3% of its lower house made up of women and 38.5 percent in senate. Tied for last place were the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, which have no women in their parliaments.
The United States was ranked 78th, with women making up just 23.5 percent of both the U.S. House of Representatives and 25% of the U.S. Senate.
Other African countries high up on the list include Namibia (7th), south Africa (10th), Senegal (11th), Mozambique (17th).
The below countries completes the top ten
Ethiopia (17th), Tanzania (27th), Burundi (28th), Tunisia (29th), Uganda (32nd)
Kenya and Ghana were ranked 91st and 146th respectively
Some leadership experts have suggested that 30 percent is the point at which women are able to hit a “critical mass” to influence politics or hold sway in male-dominated industries. Others, however, argue that number may still be too low to truly reshape cultural attitudes or political discourse — or even to shift perceptions about women in politics in general.
If 30 percent were to be used as a benchmark, then only 50 of the 193 countries in the study would have made the cut.