These three countries significantly increased women parliamentarians

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Many countries around the world are working to improve women representation in the government.

If you look at the data from the last 25 years to see which countries made significant progress to increase proportion of seats held by women in their national parliaments, these three countries will stand out!
Rwanda, Bolivia and South Africa! See the chart below. 

On this International Women’s Day, let’s quickly look at how these countries increased the proportion of women in parliaments.

In 1990, only 17% of Rwanda’s parliament was held by women , according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Today, 25 years later, 64% of parliament is occupied by women.

The circumstances in which Rwanda leapfrogged was tragic. The genocide in 1994 that devastated Rwanda also drastically altered gender balance in this landlocked East African country.
In 1994, after thousands of men were killed in genocide, 70% of Rwanda’s population was female. This tragedy created power vacuum as many men were killed. Women stepped up to lead virtually every sector of the society including politics.
Since then, women in Rwanda have made remarkable progress . In 2003, the new constitution in Rwanda mandated that 30 percent of representatives at all levels of government be women. Later that year 49% of seats in parliament were occupied by women. Over the last two subsequent elections in 2008 and 2013, women have steadily increased their presence in the government.
South Africa
In 1990, only 2% of seats in parliament were held by women. A quarter century later, it’s 42%, one of the highest in the world.
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has gradually increased the role of women in politics. The South African constitution guarantees equal treatment for all South Africans. The Commission on Gender Equality, and Human Rights, also ensures that South African women are represented in parliament.
While there has been impressive progress in South Africa when it comes to increasing participation of women in lawmaking, it has a long way to go. Women make up more than half of the population in South Africa , according to the 2011 census. To truly represent South Africans, there ought to be more women in the country’s parliament. 
In 1990, it would have been hard to imagine that 25 years later, more than half of Bolivia’s parliament would be occupied by women. In 1990, just about 9% of seats were held by women in parliament. Today, it’s 53%. 
This increase can be directly attributed to revised quota law in 2010 that raised the existing quota from 30 to 50 percent, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

To learn more about proportion of women in parliaments in other countries, check out World Bank Data site!

If you have thoughts on how more women can get into politics in your country, tell us in the comments below! 

Tweet these: 

Women in politics: 3 countries dramatically increase female representation. 

Closing the gender gap in government - kudos to #Bolivia, #SA, #Rwanda 

64% of #Rwanda's parliament are women. Up from 17% 25 years ago. 

In 2016, more than half of Bolivia's parliament are women. In 1990 it was just 9%. 



Ravi Kumar

Team Leader, Data Use and Literacy Program

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