20% of world’s lawmakers are women


The share of female lawmakers in parliaments around the world has risen to a new high in excess of 20 percent, the International Parliamentary Union said.

“Since parliaments exist, this is the first time in history that there’s been one woman for every four men,” Anders Johnsson, head of the Geneva-based IPU, said Tuesday.

The global average share of women in parliaments stood at 20.3 percent last year, up from 19.5 percent in 2011, the IPU said.

Nordic countries — often cited as having the world’s highest proportion of women in their parliaments — had an average of 42 percent in 2012. Europe’s overall rate was 23.2 percent, behind the Americas’ 24.1 percent. Women accounted for 20.4 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s lawmakers, and for 17.9 percent in Asia.

In the Pacific, the figure was 15.3 percent — just 3 percent excluding Australia and New Zealand. Arab states trailed with 13.2 percent.