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19   Worldwide, the proportion of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliaments is 19 per cent.

Millennium Development Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Target 3A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015


Indicator 3.3: Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament


Despite growing numbers of women parliamentarians,
the target of equal participation of women and men in politics is still far off. By end-January 2011, women
held 19.3 per cent of seats in single or lower houses of parliament worldwide. This is an all-time high. Still, it confirms a pattern of slow progress over the past 15 years from a world average of 11.6 per cent in 1995.

In addition, large disparities are found in women’s representation among countries. In early 2011, women made up 30 per cent or more of the members of single or lower houses of parliaments in 25 countries,
including seven countries where the share was 40 per cent or more. Some countries have achieved high levels of participation by women in either of these houses of parliament:
Rwanda (56.3 per cent),
Sweden (45.0 per cent),
South Africa (44.5 per cent)
and Cuba (43.2 per cent).


Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011

Reference:, p. 22-23