Edit 5/19/2014: The blog is based on the IPU data as of January 2012. Our friend Andy Kotikula points out that since then, Bhutan has elected its first female minister. We also note that many more women ministers were elected, and 6 countries in Table 1 - The Bahamas, Belize, Bhutan, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, and Singapore - now have women ministers. The new IPU data as of January 2014 will be available in the Gender Data Portal and WDI on July 1, 2014.
A new World Bank report, Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity, underscores the importance of enabling girls and women to fulfill their potential and make their voices heard. For women in the developing world who work in ministerial positions, are their voices being heard? The data shows us that more than 20% of elected ministers in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are women.
Using data published in the World Bank’s Gender Data Portal, these two regions’ share of women in ministerial positions are a 10-percentage-point higher than other regions, an encouraging trend since 2005. For me, one really eye-opening insight is this: here are two regions with very different socio-economic characteristics: Latin America and the Caribbean, with mostly middle income countries and high levels of school enrollments, and Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is a majority of low income countries with lower levels of school enrollments. Yet they both have the highest level of female political representation compared to other regions.