The Status of Women in Politics : Facts and Figures

The share of women ministers in charge of foreign affairs portfolios also saw a significant increase.

The increases in the number of women at the highest levels of political power, widespread gender inequalities persist, according to surveys on status of women in politics: facts and figures.

The article presents new data for women in government and parliamentary positions, as of January 2021. The data shows all-time highs for the number of countries with women Heads of State and/or Heads of Government, as well as for the global share of women Ministers.

However, after last year’s map showed a spike at 21.3 per cent of women ministers, progression has slowed – with just a small increase to 21.9 per cent as of January 2021. The data also reveals that the number of countries with no women in government has increased, bucking a downward trend, seen the last few years.

There were also sluggish gains in the global growth of women parliamentarians in 2020, as shown in the annual report on women in politics. As of January 2021, the global share of status of women politics: facts and figures in national parliaments is 25.5 per cent, a slight increase from 24.9 per cent, the year before.

No country prospers without the engagement of women. We need women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities, and across all cultural, social, economic and political situations. This year’s map shows us that we still need bold decisive action, across the world to bring women into the heart of decision-making spaces in large numbers, and as full partners. There’s no doubt, this can and should be done. It should be done now.

The year’s growth in the number of women in political decision-making, is just not good enough. Especially when you consider that 70 per cent of health, care and service workers during this pandemic, are women. It’s up to all of us, both men and women, to keep pushing for greater representation of status of women in politics: facts and figures. We have the tools to make it happen. What we need now, is the political will.

The new data was presented ahead of the Commission of the status of women in politics: facts and figures, the largest gathering on gender equality, which this year has as its priority, women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. It also comes in the run-up to the Generation Equality Forum, which will deliver multi-stakeholder, game-changing Action Coalitions on six topics, including Leadership and Feminist Movements.

More Women Heads of State and Government:

According to the new data, women occupy the role of Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, up from 20 countries, this time last year. As of 1 January 2021, 5.9 per cent of elected Heads of State (9 out of 152) and 6.7 per cent of Heads of Government (13 out of 193), are women.

Europe is the region with the most countries led by women, with five out of the world’s nine women Heads of State and seven out of the world’s 13 women Heads of Government. The Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, are all currently led by women.

Fewer Gender-equal Governments:

The number of countries, in which women hold 50 per cent or more of ministerial positions, dropped from 14 this time last year to 13,in 2021.

Countries with women holding 50 per cent or more ministerial positions:

Nicaragua – 58.82%

Austria – 57.14%

Belgium – 57.14%

Sweden – 57.14%

Albania – 56.25%

Rwanda – 54.84%

Costa Rica – 52.00%

Canada – 51.43%

Andorra, Finland, France, Guinea-Bissau, Spain – 50.00%

More Women Ministers across all Regions

Political will play a role in advancing gender equality, particularly when it comes to appointing ministers. As a result, some countries saw dramatic increase, in their share of women ministers in 2021.  

Europe experienced the two biggest jumps in women’s political representation, at the executive level in 2021. The share of women in government went from 8 per cent to 43 per cent in Lithuania, and more than doubled in Belgium, from 25 per cent to 57 per cent.

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