Representation of women in politics is slowly increasing
One in every five ministers is a woman. Countries with well-designed gender quotas elected significantly more women to parliament than those without.
Women in National Parliaments
Representation of women in the political spectrum has seen slow growth. According to an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) report, the share of women in national parliaments has increased by nearly one percentage - from 23.4 percent in 2017 to 24.3 percent in 2018.
Rwanda has maintained its top position in the global ranking, held since 2003, and has the highest representation of women in the lower house of the parliament—61.3 percent.
The world average for representation of women in the lower and upper houses of parliament is 24.3 percent and 24.1 percent respectively.
Women in Ministerial positions
Women serving in the executive and parliamentary branches are at an all-time high. When compared to 2017, the value has increased by 2.4 percentage - 20.7 percent as of 1 January 2019.
Nine countries—up from six in 2017—have 50 percent or more women in ministerial positions.
However, women’s representation in top-level leadership has decreased from 7.2 percent of elected Heads of State to 6.6 percent, and from 5.7 percent of Heads of Government to 5.2 percent.
The number of countries with no women ministers decreased to 11, as opposed to 13 in 2017. Azerbaijan, Belize, Brunei, Darussalam, Iraq, Kiribati, Lithuania, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Vanuatu.
What about India?
India stands at number 150 for representation of women in parliament.
India ranks at number 79 for representation of women in ministerial positions—23.1 percent of women represent the lower house of parliament. Six out of twenty-six positions have been occupied by women in the country.
It has been a decade since the Women’s Reservation Bill, 2008—which guaranteed 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies—was introduced. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill in March 2010 but the Lok Sabha never voted on the bill. This year, two regional parties have entered the race for women’s representation in the Lok Sabha elections.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have declared 33 percent and 41 percent quotas for women respectively in the forthcoming elections.
The 17th Lok Sabha elections don’t just need the introduction of quotas for women. To observe a change, political parties need proper mechanisms or sanctions in place.