In many countries around the world, women are entering political office at higher rates than in the United States. As of January 1, 2020, the U.S. ranked 82nd in the world for the number of women (101 of 435, or 23%) in the lower legislature, the U.S. House of Representatives. Twenty years ago, there were 58 women in the U.S. House, and the country ranked 48th for women's representation. The following report investigates this phenomenon. Our research shows that electoral rules and systems (specifically, the use of gender quotas and proportional representation) matter for women's representation.
*Please note that the data linked below this report is updated monthly. If you would like to receive a copy of the data used in our 2019 or 2018 reports, please reach out to the RepresentWomen team.
Download 2020 Data Electoral Rules Map Sample Advocacy Glossary
*NEW* Interactive Dashboard Tracking Women's Representation
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.
Please stay tuned - our team is working to provide a closer look at women's representation in all parts of the world, and we are looking forward to sharing our research with you over the coming months. Until then, we are proud to share the following maps with you. 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.
International Dashboard Africa Asia Europe North America South America Oceania
How The U.S. Ranks
In the United States, the 2018 midterm elections heralded the largest class of women into our national legislature. With 102 women (now 101) 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 116th Congress was sworn in on Thursday, January 3, 2019, the United States' ranking moved up, from 100th (January 2018) to 78th in the world. One year later, the United States ranked 82nd in the world for the number of women in the national legislature. And as new countries hold elections throughout the year, the United States' rank will continue to shift.
Scroll below to see how the U.S. presently ranks in the world.