Despite Progress, Many Powerful Nations Lag Far Behind in Women Leadership

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The Number of Scholarly Articles Published in 2013 - per Country


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Women representation in parliaments, government and in the private sector has been steadily increasing over the years. According to a World Bank data, in the year 2016, the proportion of seats being held by women in national parliaments at the world level stood at 23 percent. This is a major step forward as compared to 1990, when the proportion of seats being held by women at the world level was just 13 percent.

Rwanda had the highest proportion women in the world in the national parliament. According to the World Bank data, women heavily outnumbered men at 64 percent. But, the heavy presence of women in Rwanda’s national parliament could be attributed to the new constitution which was enacted in 2003. As per the new constitution, it is mandatory that 30 percent of the seats should be reserved for women. At the second spot stood the South American nation of Bolivia where women held 50 percent of the seats in the national parliament. Following Bolivia closely was Cuba, with women holding an impressive 49 percent of the seats in the national parliament.

The Nordic nations also did exceedingly well with three of them – Sweden, Finland and Iceland – making it to the top 20 countries. Iceland, which stood at the fourth spot, witnessed women holding 44 percent of the seats in the national parliament. The percentage in the other two countries of Sweden, which occupied the fifth spot, and Finland, at the tenth spot was 44 and 42 percent respectively. Iceland was also the European nation with women holding the highest proportion of seats in the national parliament while Ukraine was at the lowest level with 12 percent women representation.

The overall percentage in the South Asian region stood at 19 percent. In India, women held just 19 percent of the seats in the national parliament, while Pakistan did much better at 21 percent. The figures in Nepal and Bangladesh were also decent at 30 and 20 percent respectively. Meanwhile, in the three nations of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan the percentages stood at a dismal 6, 6 and 9 percent respectively.

The United States, surprisingly, had low level of representation with just 19 percent of the seats in the national parliament being held by women. Meanwhile, its northern neighbor Canada was slightly ahead at 26 percent. Australia and New Zealand posted figures of 29 percent and 31 percent respectively.

On the other side of the table are countries such as Haiti, Tonga, Yemen and Qatar, where the female representation was 0 percent.

(Data sourced from World Bank)

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