In many countries around the world, women are entering political office at higher rates than in the United States. As of January 2022, the U.S. was tied with Egypt and the Philippines in 72nd place for the number of women (120 of 433, or 28%) in the lower legislature, the U.S. House of Representatives. Twenty years ago, there were half as many women in the U.S. House, and the country ranked 59th for women's representation.
In 2020, RepresentWomen released a report analyzing the impact electoral rules and systems have on women's representation. We found that countries with proportional systems and gender quotas were more likely to have women present in their national legislature. Our report, "Achieving Gender Parity: Systems Strategies Around the World," also introduces 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.
In October 2021, RepresentWomen released the first installment of its new "Global Practices & Systems Strategies" series. The 2021 Post-Soviet Brief 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. In December 2021, the team released the second installment of this series, the 2021 Arab States Brief, which covers the same topics in 20 Arab countries.
In April 2022, RepresentWomen released the third installment in this series, the 2022 Latin America Brief. Please stay tuned for new additions to this series!
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, whether a gender quota has been used to advance women's representation at the national level, women 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 last few elections have heralded the largest class of women into our national legislature. With 145 women in the 117th Congress, women have (once again) 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 as clear as ever 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. At the start of this year, the US tied with Egypt and the Philippines in 72nd place. But as 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.