The number of women in executive government and in parliament worldwide has stagnated, with only marginal improvements since 2015, according to the data presented in the Women in Politics 2017 Map launched today by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women. The Map, which depicts global rankings for women in the executive and parliamentary branches of government as of 1 January 2017, shows slow progress towards gender equality in these areas at regional and national levels. The presentation took place at a joint IPU-UN Women press conference in New York, in the context of the ongoing session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61).
Women’s political empowerment and equal access to leadership positions at all levels are fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a more equal world. With limited growth in women’s representation, advancement of gender equality and the success of the SDGs are jeopardized.
The 2017 edition of the Map shows a slight drop in the number of countries with a woman Head of State and/or Head of Government from 2015 figures (from 19 to 17). However, the data reveals a significant increase in the number of countries with a woman Head of State and/or Head of Government since the IPU-UN Women Map’s first edition in 2005 (from 8 to 17).
Progress in the number of women Members of Parliament worldwide continues to be slow. IPU data shows that the global average of women in national parliaments increased just slightly from 22.6 per cent in 2015 to 23.3 per cent in 2016. Women Speakers of Parliament have however significantly increased in number, now at an all-time high of 19.1 per cent, but obviously still far from gender balance. For more information on women in parliament, see IPU statistics on women in parliament and the report Women in parliament: the year in progress.
“These developments show that progress in gender equality remains slow in all structures of power and types of decision-making. Power is still firmly in men’s hands, and although we have witnessed some positive trends—for example, the current record number of 53 women Speakers of Parliament out of 273 posts, globally—much remains to be done if women are to play on a level field with men,” said IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong. “Equal representation in positions of power is a fundamental precondition for truly effective and accountable democracy.”
To read the full press release, visit the UN Women website.