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IPU-UN Women map of Women in Politics

Topics Covered:

  1. Women related issues.


IPU-UN Women map of Women in Politics


What to study?

  • For Prelims: About IPU and findings of the report.
  • For Mains: Significance of women in politics, challenges present and ways to address them.


Context: Women’s representation in political decision-making continues to rise slowly, with slight improvements since 2017, according to the data presented in the 2019 edition of the biennial IPU-UN Women map of Women in Politics.

The map was launched at a press conference during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 63) at the United Nations headquarters in New York.


Key Highlights of the report:

  1. The map, which presents global rankings for women in the executive and parliamentary government branches as of 1 January 2019, shows the proportion of women ministers is at an all-time high at 20.7 per cent, 2.4 percentage points higher compared to 2017. It also shows that the types of portfolios women ministers hold are diversifying.
  2. The global share of women Members of Parliament (MPs)—24.3 per cent—has increased by nearly one point compared with 2017. The share of women parliamentary speakers also increased by 0.6 percentage points to 19.7 per cent, and the share of women deputy speakers increased by 1.6 percentage points to 28.2 per cent.
  3. However, women’s representation in top-level leadership has decreased from 7.2 per cent of elected Heads of State to 6.6 per cent (10 out of 153), and from 5.7 per cent of Heads of Government to 5.2 per cent (10 out of 193).
  4. Among countries in Asia, Pakistan progressed from having no women ministers since 2012 to reaching its highest-ever share of women ministers at 12 per cent.
  5. In Europe, Slovenia dropped the most percentage points since 2017 from 50 per cent to 25 per cent women ministers. Lithuania no longer has women in ministerial positions, compared to 2017 when there were three out of 14, or 21.4 per cent.
  6. The number of countries with no women ministers decreased from 13 in 2017 to 11: Azerbaijan, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Iraq, Kiribati, Lithuania, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vanuatu.
  7. The types of portfolios held by women ministers are shifting.
  8. Strikingly, more women are in charge of portfolios traditionally occupied by men compared to 2017: 30 per cent more women ministers cover Defence, 52.9 per cent more women cover Finance, and 13.6 per cent more women cover Foreign Affairs.


Nine countries, up from six in 2017, have 50 per cent or more women in ministerial positions:

  1. 7%: Spain.
  2. 6%: Nicaragua.
  3. 4%: Sweden.
  4. 3%: Albania.
  5. 9%: Colombia.
  6. 9%: Costa Rica.
  7. 9%: Rwanda.
  8. 50%: Canada.
  9. 50%: France.


Way ahead:

Equal representation in government positions is fundamental for a democracy to be truly representative and effective. Despite some positive movement, the overwhelming majority of government leaders remain male. It is a shared responsibility between men and women to change this and ensure gender equality at all political levels. It is important to identify the main barriers that are stopping women from accessing decision-making positions.

More women in politics leads to more inclusive decisions and can change people’s image of what a leader looks like.


Sources: bs.

Mains Question: Critically comment on the role of women in electoral politics in the world and in India.