Facts & Figures on Democratic Governance
- As of 2008, 18.4 percent of national parliamentarians are female (as opposed
to 11.6 percent in 1995), and 17 heads of state or government worldwide
- Rwanda has the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide
since the election in September 2008 (56 percent of seats).
- A 30 percent minimum
for women in representative assemblies was set as a target at the Beijing
conference in 1995, while the parity zone is considered between 40–60
- Since 1995, this 30 percent benchmark set as the 'critical mass' has been
attained in 22 countries, including in six African countries.
- 95 countries
worldwide apply some form of quotas. Out of the 22 countries that boast 30
percent or more women in national assemblies, 18 of them applied quotas in
- It will take developed countries at least 20 years and all other
countries closer to 40 years to reach the parity zone of 40-60 percent.
with Proportional Representation electoral systems and with quotas can expect
to reach the 40 percent threshold on average by 2026.
- Women’s presence in
public office represents one indicator for Goal 3 of the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) — “to promote gender equality and empower
- Higher numbers of women in parliament and other public office positions
generally contribute to stronger attention to women's issues.
- Women in public
office encourage greater political engagement by ordinary women.
- More women
in politics is not correlative with a decrease of corruption, as often assumed.
Rather, democratic and transparent politics is correlated with low corruption,
and the two create an enabling environment for more women to participate
- As a regional average, women hold between 7.7 to 28.1 percent of ministerial
posts, while individual countries range from 0 to 58 percent.
- A 2008 study
in Latin America indicates a systematic discrepancy between the numbers of
women as members of political parties and the numbers of women in leadership
positions within these parties. For example, in Paraguay, 46.5 percent of
party members are women, while 18.9 percent of executive posts in party leadership
are held by women.
The following numbers represent the average percentage of women parliamentarians
in each region by mid-year 2008:
- Sub-Saharan Africa: 16 percent (ranging from 2 to
56 percent within the region)
- Middle East & North Africa: 8 percent (ranging
from 0 to 26 percent within the region)
- South Asia: 15 percent (ranging from 3 to
34 percent within the region)
- East Asia & Pacific: 11 percent (ranging from 0
to 29 percent within the region)
- Latin America & Caribbean: 18 percent (ranging
from 0 to 43 percent within the region)
- Central & Eastern Europe/ CIS:
29 percent (ranging from 6 to 16 percent within the region)
- Developed Regions:
26 percent (ranging from 9 to 47 percent within the region)