This week I read that in the world rankings for women in government, Britain comes 65th, as just 147 of our 650 members of parliament are women. That’s just below Madagascar at 64. We used to be 59th, but slipped backwards at the last election. For US readers, you’re at 86th with 18% women. That’s ten places below Saudi Arabia.
The Electoral Reform Society has some recommendations for how we encourage the political parties to work on this, but I wanted to mention some of the countries with a better balance of men and women in parliament. Here’s the top ten, and it’s a surprising list:
- South Africa
Rwanda is the only country in the world with more women in parliament than men, with 63% female representation. Andorra is the only country that is 50/50, with Cuba a whisker away from an even split. Everyone else has more men than women, right down to the bottom of the list and parliaments with no women at all, which seem to be mainly in the Middle East or small island states.
- For more on this issue, see the Counting Women In campaign
- Global rankings from the Inter-Parliamentary Union