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For th e first time in history, women are represented in every parliament around the world, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The Geneva-based organization’s latest report demonstrates the world’s continued progress in reducing male dominance in representative bodies.

Diversity and Progress in Elections

In the 47 countries that held elections last year, women took an average of 25.8% of the available seats, marking a 2.3% increase from the previous elections. In the US, a record number of women of color ran in the midterms, while France saw 5.8% of total candidates for the new National Assembly from minority backgrounds. Colombia experienced a significant increase in LGBTQ+ representation in Congress, which tripled from two to six members.

Legislated Quotas and Other Contributing Factors

According to IPU, legislated quotas requiring a minimum of female candidates were a decisive factor in the growth of women’s parliamentary representation. Countries with legislative and voluntary quotas elected 30.9% of women to parliament, compared to 21.2% in countries without quotas. Additionally, the influence of gender issues, increased awareness of discrimination and gender-based violence, and greater attention to gender-sensitive and family-friendly policies due to COVID played a role in this progress.

Stagnation in Europe’s Women Representation

Despite significant progress in some countries, Europe has experienced a stagnation in women’s representation, remaining at 31% in the fifteen European countries which held parliamentary elections last year. Data from the European Institute for Gender Equality reveals women’s parliamentary representation has been stagnating between 30 and 33% since mid-2017.

Aiming for Gender Parity

While women’s parliamentary representation has grown worldwide, only a few countries are closer to achieving gender parity. As of January 1, 2023, only six countries have equal representation of women and men in their parliaments. At the current rate, it might take 80 years for the rest of the world to catch up, according to IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong.