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International Progress


Although global representation of women is steadily increasing, cultural, political, and systemic barriers to women in elected office remain. More needs to be done to reach full gender parity, so that women can run, win, serve, and lead effectively.

Three of the most powerful mechanisms for change around the world are:

  • Recruitment targets: Seventy one of the nations that rank above the United States in women’s representation have some type of quota system - to learn more about these voluntary, legislated, or mandated quotas visit the Quota Project and Representation20/20's quota spreadsheet that is based on data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Quota Project. This strategy is widely credited with having the clearest impact on the number of women elected.

  • Fair representation voting: The vast majority of countries that rank above the United States, use multi-winner districts with some form of proportional representation or ranked choice voting system to elect legislators. To learn more about how the countries that rank above the United States in women’s representation vote visit Representation20/20's voting system spreadsheet.

  • Improved Legislative Practices: Many countries have instituted legislative practices like child care, telecommuting, and merit-based committee leadership selection so that women of all ages can balance the opportunities for civic service with child-rearing and other family responsibilities.

infogram_0_4225ab86-0299-43aa-9233-0214b42fccd1Rep2020: Women's representation around the world: US falls farther behind//