The 2023 edition of the IPU-UN Women Map of Women in Politics reveals a mixed picture of women’s political representation globally. While the data indicates progress in the number of women holding political leadership roles, it also uncovers substantial regional disparities.
A Snapshot of Global Trends
The map, updated as of January 1, 2023, shows that women are increasingly breaking barriers in politics, but not uniformly across regions. Currently, 11.3% of countries have female Heads of State and 9.8% have female Heads of Government, an uptick compared to a decade ago.
Official Statements Shed Light
UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous and IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong weighed in on the data, calling for more systemic changes to reach gender equality. Both emphasized the importance of women’s participation in critical decision-making roles, particularly amid current global challenges.
Europe and the Americas lead the pack in female political representation, but the picture is less rosy in Central and Southern Asia and the Pacific Islands. In these regions, women’s representation in cabinets dips as low as 10.1% and 8.1%, respectively.
Roles and Portfolios
Women tend to be concentrated in ministries related to gender equality, human rights, and social affairs. However, they remain underrepresented in critical portfolios like economy, defense, and energy, with men holding the majority of these positions.
The number of women serving as Speakers of Parliament has slightly increased, now at 22.7% compared to 20.9% in 2021. Nonetheless, the data reveals stark contrasts among regions, with European Nordic countries boasting the highest rates and the Middle East and North Africa lagging behind.
2023 IPU-UN Women Map
The 2023 IPU-UN Women Map offers both encouragement and caution. While women are progressively occupying more political positions, the pace and scope of this advancement vary significantly across regions. Achieving true gender equality in politics demands concerted efforts that go beyond regional and portfolio-based discrepancies.