Female Politicians Making a Splash Globally: Every Parliament Now Welcomes Women for the First Time

For the first time ever, there are women MPs in every single country on Earth, the Interparliamentary Union, IPU, said on Friday.

In its latest annual report, the global body dedicated to promoting peace through parliamentary diplomacy and dialogue, also said that women’s participation has never been as diverse as it is in many countries today.

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The findings are based on data from the 47 countries that held elections last year.

These polls saw women take an average of 25.8 per cent of the seats available, representing a 2.3 percentage point increase, since elections were last held.

Smallest increase

Despite this positive data, IPU noted that it is nonetheless the smallest increase in women’s participation in six years. The 0.4 per cent rise means that the global share of women in parliamentary office, stood at 26.5 per cent, as the New Year dawned.

The other bad news is that at this rate, it will take another 80 years to reach gender parity in parliament, said Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General:

“Currently, one of the foremost obstacles, is the climate of sexism, harassment, violence against women that we are witnessing across the world”, he said.

“It is a phenomenon that is pervasive across the world and it is not endemic to any particular region. And we can estimate that this is having a toll on the participation of women in political life.”

Women premiers exit early

The IPU chief referred to the resignations of New Zealand and Scotland premiers Jacinda Ardern and Nicola Sturgeon, saying that it was widely held that they had stepped down after being harassed.

Mr. Chungong also pointed to other IPU data showing pervasive and increasing trend of harassment, sexism and violence against women, that deters them from participating in the political processes in their countries.

Lesia Vasylenko, President of the IPU Bureau of Women MPs, said that every woman elected, “brings parliaments one step closer to becoming more inclusive and representative and it’s great to see much more diversity”.

But overall, she added, “progress is far too slow with half the world’s population still vastly under-represented. There is an urgent need to change this, to strengthen democracy everywhere.”

The President of the IPU, Duarte Pacheco, called on male colleagues in every parliament worldwide, “to work with their female counterparts to move forward and accelerate the pace of change.”

UN Photo/Laura Jarriel

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, carries her daughter Neve between meetings on the third day of the General Assembly’s seventy-third general debate. 27 September 2018.

Some highlights

There were encouraging signs that progress is at least happening. Brazil saw a record 4,829 women who identify as Black, running for election, out of nearly 27,000 standing overall.

In the USA, a record 263 women of colour stood in the Congressional Midterms. And LGBTQI+ representation in Colombia, tripled, from two to six members of the Congress.

In France, 32 candidates from a minority background were elected to the new National Assembly, an all time high of 5.8 per cent of the total.

Leading the way

Six countries worldwide now have gender parity, thanks to New Zealand joining the club last year, which also includes, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the top nations in the IPU rankings for women membership.

Rwanda holds the top spot, with women occupying just over 60 per cent of parliamentary seats in the lower house. Tellingly however, even there, women still only occupy 34.6 per cent of seats in the upper chamber.

UN Women/ Nangyalai Tanai

Afghan parliament members attend a meeting on women in decision-making roles.



  1. It’s about time we saw more women in parliament! This is a step in the right direction towards achieving true gender equality in political representation.

  2. Could you elaborate on the specific initiatives being implemented to combat the climate of sexism and violence against women within parliaments worldwide?

    1. Sure, Megan_Writes. One of the key initiatives being implemented to combat sexism and violence against women in parliaments globally is the establishment of robust anti-harassment policies and mechanisms to ensure accountability for offenders. Training programs on gender equality and sensitivity are also being introduced for parliamentarians and staff. Additionally, there are efforts to promote women’s leadership and increase their representation through affirmative action measures. Transparency and reporting mechanisms are crucial to address such issues effectively. Hope this sheds some light on the ongoing efforts.

  3. Are there any specific strategies being considered to accelerate progress towards achieving gender parity in parliaments?

    1. Hi SarahSmith89, it’s great to see your interest in gender parity in parliaments! One strategy being considered is the implementation of gender quotas in elections, which can help increase the representation of women in politics. Additionally, promoting initiatives that support women in leadership roles and addressing systemic barriers to women’s participation are crucial steps towards accelerating progress. Together, we can work towards a more inclusive and diverse parliamentary landscape. #EmpowerWomen

  4. Wow, that’s impressive progress in terms of female representation in parliaments globally! However, do you think there are specific strategies that could accelerate the achievement of gender parity in politics?

  5. Are there specific programs or initiatives being implemented to address the obstacles hindering gender parity in parliament?

  6. It’s great to see more female politicians breaking barriers and making history globally. However, the slow progress towards gender parity in parliament is concerning. We need to work together to overcome the obstacles of sexism, harassment, and violence against women to ensure equal representation for all.

  7. As a woman myself, it’s truly inspiring to see the progress female politicians are making globally. However, the slow pace of achieving gender parity is disheartening. We need to address the issues of sexism, harassment, and violence against women in order to truly level the playing field in politics.

  8. Isn’t it a slow progress towards gender parity in parliament despite the increase in women’s participation in politics?

  9. Wow, it’s great progress to see more women in parliaments worldwide! Do you think there are specific challenges that are hindering the faster advancement towards gender parity in politics?

  10. This is a significant milestone for gender equality worldwide. It’s inspiring to see more and more women taking on leadership roles in politics. However, the slow pace of progress towards gender parity is concerning. We must continue to address sexism and violence against women to create a more inclusive political environment.

  11. It’s great to see more women MPs in every country, showing progress in gender equality. However, the slow pace of increase is concerning. We need to address the pervasive issues of sexism, harassment, and violence to achieve true gender parity in parliament sooner.

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