women's representation

Women's Representation

Posted on US National Studies on February 10, 2022

RepresentWomen compiles information about the current status of women's representation through research from other organizations as well as through our own original research. 

To learn more about our research and to see how each U.S. state ranks in terms of women's representation, check out our Gender Parity Index.  

Want to help more women run, win, serve, and lead? Take Action 



Global Practices & System Strategies

Posted on By The Numbers - Global on October 29, 2021

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 Post-Soviet Brief. The second brief in this series, the Arab State Brief, was released December 2021. The latest edition to this series, the Latin America Brief, was launched in April 2022. Stay tuned for more releases in this series through 2022 and 2023. To learn more about our international research, please read our 2020 report, "Achieving Gender Parity: Systems Strategies Around the World." 

Other International Projects 

Latin America Brief

Shared April 2022

RepresentWomen's Latin America Brief reviews the history and impact of gender quotas and other systems-based reforms in Latin American countries. While many of the highest-ranking countries in the world for gender parity in parliament are based in Latin America, our research shows that each country's individual rate of success varies according to the design of these systems.


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Arab State Brief

Shared December 2021

RepresentWomen's Arab State Brief reviews the extent to which women are represented in Arab countries, the history of Arab independence and revolutions - and their impact on women's rights and representation; and country-specific information that covers the history of systems reforms and their impact on women's political rights and representation in the region. 


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Post-Soviet Brief

Shared October 2021

RepresentWomen's Post-Soviet Brief covers how well women are represented in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches in 15 post-Soviet countries; the role of institutions, rules, and election systems in shaping outcomes for women in each country; and 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. 


Download Brief 

Incarcerated Women

Posted on Intersectionality on September 10, 2020

In the past few decades there has been heightened interest in and scholarship in incarceration and the incarcerated population in the United States. However, much of this research has surrounded male incarceration rates, often overlooking the growing number of incarcerated women. While male incarceration rates have steadily declined in the past decade with the help of public scrutiny, women have become the fastest-growing incarcerated population. Between 1980 and 2017, the population of incarcerated women has risen by 750% (The Sentencing Project, 2019). Along with the rapid growth, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women face unique challenges in re-entering society and regaining voting rights all of which impact their political representation. To learn more about incarcerated women and political representation read our 2020 brief below. 



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Incarceration impacts political representation by:

  • Requiring formerly incarcerated individuals to pay legal financial obligations (LFOs) before being re-enfranchised. This pay-to-vote system is particularly difficult for formerly incarcerated women who face higher rates of unemployment both before and after incarceration than men. 
  • Prison gerrymandering counts incarcerated individuals as residents of the prison's district rather than their home communities in the decennial census. This impacts both the funding and representation given to both the prison and home communities. 

Further research and resources on the topic can be found from allies in the field at: the Vera Institute of Justice, the Prison Policy Initiative, the Sentencing Project, and the following podcast with Michele Goodwin. 

Want to help more women run, win, serve, and lead? Take Action 


Women's Representation Around the World

Posted on Research Hub on March 03, 2020

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. 


Download 2020 Data Glossary Take Action Here 

Global Practices & Systems Strategies Series

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! 

Project Homepage Post-Soviet Arab States Latin America 

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, 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. 

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International Dashboard Africa Asia Europe North America South America Oceania

How The U.S. Ranks

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. 

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Indigenous Women

Posted on Intersectionality on August 07, 2019

As research develops around women's political representation it often focuses on national and state levels, sometimes at the expense of other levels of elected representation. One such example of this data gap is women's current and historic political representation and voice within Tribal Nations. RepresentWomen has published preliminary research on a small number of Indigenous Nations in North America; and is in the midst of conducting an investigation into women's representation in the 576 federally recognized Tribal Nations in the 48 contiguous states and the 229 federally recognized Alaskan Native Nations and Corporations. As always RepresentWomen remains culturally humble in our approach to studying other cultures and systems of governance and are open and eager to partner with those who have more expertise. 


Download Data Case Studies Further Reading

infogram_0_6f9f8982-d9c7-4b65-bec7-af12f3d92d2fTop 10 Tribal Councils for Women's Representationhttps://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?3s5text/javascript

Want to help more women run, win, serve, and lead? Take Action 

Further research and resources both from experts in the field be found here: National Congress of American IndiansIndigenous Women Rising, Advance Native Political Leadership, National Caucus of Native American State LegislatorsNative Land Digital


Women's Representation in Chile: Comparative Analysis of Gender Balance Legislation in Chile and Bolivia

Posted on Blog by on July 29, 2019

Chile is the country with the highest GDP per capita and Human Development Index in South America, yet it was one of the last countries to enact a gender quota law in the region. Though higher levels of economic development should be paired with greater gender parity, the reality is that Chile ranks 84th in the world in terms of the percentage of women in Congress, with just 23 percent in the Lower and Upper Houses.

The next set of Democratic debates are coming up. Here’s something to keep in mind.

Posted on Blog by on July 29, 2019

Less than three years after the 2016 presidential election, a pattern is already emerging. Once again, we’re seeing intelligent, qualified women candidates being snubbed by voters who can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that a woman can be president. In his recent opinion piece in The Washington Post, Robert J. Samuelson claims that though the 2020 Democratic candidates were “articulate,” “intelligent,” and “ambitious … without seeming too egotistical or ruthless,” none of them “seemed ‘presidential.’” But if not intelligence and ambition, what makes a candidate seem presidential? There are many answers, but the one that stands out in a presidential election cycle with a historical number of women candidates is gender. 

Our Mission

Posted on About Us on July 25, 2019

RepresentWomen’s mission is to strengthen our democracy by advancing reforms that break down barriers to ensure more women can run, win, serve, and lead. Even following several "record"-breaking election cycles for women candidates, women continue to be underrepresented at every level of elected office. 

More women in elected and appointed positions at every level of government will strengthen our democracy by making it more representative, reviving bi-partisanship and collaboration, improving the deliberative process, encouraging a new style of leadership, and building greater trust in our elected bodies.

RepresentWomen accomplishes its mission in these 4 ways:

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RepresentWomen started as Representation2020, a program of the non-partisan reform group FairVote, that worked to build a solid intellectual foundation from which future work could grow. The team engages in research to track the status of women’s representation in the US and abroad, understand the underlying reasons women are underrepresented, and find evidence-based solutions to mitigate the problem. This inquiry resulted in a suite of reports, studies, and tracking tools that follow trends in women’s representation in the US and internationally.

This slideshow gives some additional background information on who we are, our research, and our ongoing projects.

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