One was forced to meet the stark reality of the perpetual gender disparity across globe when men outnumbered women in Parliamentary roles at the United Nations annual conference recently. Currently, only about 22 per cent of the women have leadership position in their national legislature globally. With just 11 women head of state and 14 head of government, the figures are disappointing.

The world leaders had promised to increase the scant representation of women in Parliament by 30 per cent in 1995 at the landmark Beijing women’s conference. Evidently, it failed to meet its promise as world’s parliament largely remains the men domain. However, figures have surged since 1995 when only 11 per cent of world’s lawmakers were women.

Off the 190 countries, only 44 countries managed to include 30 per cent of their women as lawmakers according to an analysis by the Inter- Parliamentary Union.

  •  Rwanda tops the list having nearly 63.8 per cent of women members in its lower house while Bolivia ranked second with nearly 51 per cent of women leaders.
  •  The United States ranked much lower at 75 (after Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) with only about 19.4 per cent of women members.
  • India ranked 107, sharply lower given its population with just 12 per cent women leaders in Parliament (far behind Nepal, Vietnam and China)
  • Gulf countries like Qatar, Kuwait and Oman reports less than 1 per cent of women members in Parliament.


Gender based quotas in political parties and national legislature has been one of the reason for the deferred improvement. However, not many countries oblige with the quota system resulting in poor representation of women. Although any increase in representation of women in parliament does not determine the improved status of women in society. For instance, In Afghanistan, women healthcare and education measures are worst in the world, although it has about 27 per cent women members in the nation’s lower house.

Lawmakers at the conference addressed various peripheral issues, however observed silence on their countries plan to bridge the gender gap in their own legislature. However, In a draft declaration (yet to be finalised) they have agreed to achieve the 30 per cent target latest by 2020.

It is however feared that the share of women will be far worse in the coming years despite efforts being made to bring in gender parity.

Photo Credit: