In many countries around the world, women are entering political office at higher rates than in the United States. As of January 2021, the U.S. ranked 67th in the world for the number of women (118 of 435, or 27%) in the lower legislature, the U.S. House of Representatives. Twenty years ago, there were 61 women in the U.S. House, and the country ranked 49th for women's representation.
For our 2020 Report "Achieving Gender Parity: Systems Strategies Around the World," we continue our analysis of the impact electoral rules and systems have on women's representation and introduce our new research on women Heads of State and Government, women in executive cabinets around the world, the use of ranked choice voting internationally, and the role women's representation has on democratic rankings.
Starting in 2020, the RepresentWomen team has been drafting in-depth research on the status of women's representation in different parts of the world. In October 2021, the team released the first installment of this ongoing series, the 2021 Post-Soviet Brief, which covers 1) how well women are represented in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches in 15 post-Soviet countries, 2) the role of institutions, rules, and election systems in shaping outcomes for women in each country, and 3) country-specific information that covers the role grassroots women's movements and civil society organizations in advancing the rights of women and girls in the region.
Scroll over the map below to see how well women are represented in their national legislatures and as executive officeholders. For each country, you will find the percentage of women in the lower (or singular) legislative house, the upper legislative house, the electoral system followed to select these women, and whether a gender quota has been used to advance women's representation at the national level. In 2020, we expanded our research to cover the history of women who have served as heads of state or government and the composition of executive cabinets around the world.
Follow the links below this map to take a closer look at the story of women's representation in different geographic regions around the world.
In the United States, the 2020 elections heralded the largest class of women into our national legislature. With 118 women in the U.S. House of Representatives, women reached a new milestone for representation and leadership. But, when this victory is set beside the longer strides women around the world are making towards parity, it is once again clear that the United States still has a long way to go.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union tracks and ranks 193 countries for the representation of women in their national parliaments. After the 117th Congress was sworn in, the United States' ranking moved up, from 82nd (January 2020) to 67th in the world. But as new countries hold elections throughout the year, the United States' rank will continue to shift. Scroll through the following chart to see how the U.S. presently ranks in the world.