One in five ministers is a woman, report shows

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Every one in five ministers in the world is a woman, according to the latest map of women in politics released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women.

A map of global rankings as at January 2019 shows that 20.7% or 812 out of 3,922 ministers is a woman.

In Africa, Rwanda is the only country among the top nine nations in the world that has more than 50% of their ministers being women.

The top nine countries globally, include Spain (64%), Nicaragua (55.6%), Sweden (54.4%), Albania (53.3%), Colombia (52.9%), Costa Rica and Rwanda at 51.9% each, with Canada and France each at 50%.

At a press conference this week, the statistics revealed showed a slight improvement in women representation, which rose 2.4% compared to 2017.

“More women in politics leads to more inclusive decisions and can change people’s image of what a leader looks like,” according to UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“We still have a steep road ahead, but… these are the types of bold moves that we need if we are to dramatically increase women’s representation in decision-making.”

Apart from an increase in numbers, the map also showed that the portfolios women are holding are diversifying.

According to the map, 30% more women cover the Defence portfolio from 2017, 52.9% more women handle the finance docket, while 13.6% more hold the Foreign Affairs portfolio. They still however hold the more common portfolios of Social Affairs, Women Affairs and matters to do with children, youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

IPU President and Mexican MP, Gabriela Cuevas Barron, said: “Equal representation in government positions is fundamental for a democracy to be truly representative and effective… 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.”

Ethiopia meanwhile has seen the largest increase in political representation, up from 10% women ministers in 2017, to 47.6% in 2019.

Mauritania also had the largest share of women ministers in the North Africa and Middle East region at 31.8%.

Seven African countries are listed as having less than 10% representation of women ministers in their cabinets. These include: Botswana (9.5%), Mali (8.8%), Central African Republic (8.6%), Benin and Eswatini (7.2%), Comoros (6.1%) and lastly Nigeria (5.7%).

Countries with no women ministers decreased from 13 in 2017 to 11, namely: Azerbaijan, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Iraq, Kiribati, Lithuania, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vanuatu.

 

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