Education and Skills

Here are 4 parliaments that have more women than men

Last year marked more progress for women in politics.

Last year marked more progress for women in politics. Image: Unsplash/Marius Oprea

Gabi Thesing
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Education, Gender and Work

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  • Last year marked more progress for women in politics. The number of countries that have gender parity or more women than men in parliament doubled to six from three in 2020.
  • New Zealand joined Rwanda, Cuba and Nicaragua as the parliaments with more female lawmakers than male ones.
  • No G7 country makes it to the top 30 in the rankings. The most progressive is France, ranked 36th with 37.3% of women lawmakers.
  • The progress towards global gender parity is stalling and the risk of reversal is intensifying, the WEF Global Gender Gap 2022 report has found.

There was much celebration last year when for the first time in New Zealand’s history there were more women in parliament than men.

Soraya Peke-Mason from the liberal Labour Party was sworn in to Parliament in October, 2022, tipping the balance to 60 female lawmakers (or 50.4%) and 59 men.

“Whilst it’s a special day for me, I think it’s historic for New Zealand,” Peke-Mason said in a press briefing, as reported by the Associated Press.

It’s also big news for women parliamentarians around the world. It doubled the number of countries that now have gender parity or a greater share of women in parliament to six – from three in 2020 – according to November 2022 data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). That said, it is only six out of 200 parliaments around the world and none of the G7 most powerful nations are in the top 30.

Countries with the most women in politics

Globally, about 26% of lawmakers are women, according to the union. New Zealand is the first developed nation to join.

The others are:

1. The Republic of Rwanda (61.3%)


In 2008, Rwanda became the first country in the world with an elected national parliament where women were the majority. After the 1994 genocide, women played a key role in stabilizing the central African nation. In 2003, the country introduced legislated female representation quotas across its two chambers of parliament. IPU data shows that quotas are one of the most critical success factors in increasing women’s representation.

2. Cuba


There are claims that the larger representation of female lawmakers in Cuba is the result of the country’s socialist revolution of 1959. While the United Nations says the nation has much work to do, to achieve gender equality, it acknowledges that progress is being made.

In October, 2002, Cubans approved gay marriage and greater rights for women in a referendum backed by the government, “The 100-page ‘family code’ legalizes same-sex marriage and civil unions, allows same-sex couples to adopt children, and promotes equal sharing of domestic rights and responsibilities between men and women,” Reuters reports.

3. Nicaragua (51.7%)


After the 2021 general election, more women lawmakers than men entered parliament. This has raised hopes for improved women’s rights and gender parity in a country where abortion was banned in 2006. Violence against women and poverty remain some key issues in the country according to the Borgen Project.

Mexico and the United Arab Emirates are the only other two other countries to have achieved parliamentary gender parity.

Where are the women in the G7?

The Group of 7 most economically advanced nations don’t fare well when it comes to representation of women. France is the top performer at number 36 in the ranking with 37.3% of female parliamentarians, IPU data shows, followed by Germany (ranked 44, 34.9%), the UK (ranked 45, 34.7%), Italy (ranked 56, 32.3%) and Canada (ranked 62, 30.5%).

The United States, despite the record number of female parliamentarians, is ranked joint 73rd with Lithuania (28.4%).

Over 130 years to full gender parity

These statistics highlight the slow progress being made. Longitudinal data from the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Index shows that the global average share of women in ministerial positions nearly doubled between 2006 and 2022, increasing from 9.9% to 16.1%. The countries with the largest proportion of female ministers are Belgium (57.1%), Nicaragua (58.8%) and Sweden (57.1%).

Figure showing the women's share of time in power as heads of state from 1972-2022. women in politics
The aggregrate share time of woman in power as heads of state was in 2020 Image: World Economic Forum

The report points out that while there are advances in some areas, on the whole “the progress towards gender parity is stalling. As leaders tackle a growing series of economic and political shocks, the risk of reversal is intensifying”.

At the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full parity, the Forum says. This represents a slight four-year improvement compared to the 2021 estimate (136 years to parity). However, it does not compensate for the generational loss which occurred between 2020 and 2021: according to trends leading up to 2020, the gender gap was set to close within 100 years.

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Education and SkillsEquity, Diversity and Inclusion
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