Just The Facts

Where Rwanda and Bolivia Lead the World

Two countries have a majority share of parliamentary women.

Credit: Ken Zaremba www.flickr.com

Takeaways


  • Rwanda tops the global list for the highest percent (63.8%) of women members of parliament.
  • Bolivia is the only other country besides Rwanda with more than 50% of seats in parliament held by women.
  • Bolivia requires all parties to alternate male and female candidates from the top of their lists down.

1. Rwanda tops the global list for the highest percentage of women members of parliament (comparing lower houses or unicameral chambers) — with a share of 63.8%.

2. After its September 2008 elections, Rwanda became the world’s first country in which women hold an outright majority of seats in parliament.

3. Since then, the big gain at the top of the world list came from Bolivia, now ranked second in the world.

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4. Bolivia more than doubled its female parliamentary representation in the most recent election, held in 2014.

5. Women now hold 53.1% of the seats in Bolivia’s lower house. Bolivia is the only other country besides Rwanda with more than 50% of seats in parliament held by women.

6. Bolivia requires all parties – under a proportional representation system – to alternate male and female candidates from the top of their lists down.

7. No matter how much of a given list is elected into parliament based on vote share, each party’s delegation would have almost exactly a 50-50 gender balance.

8. The parliamentary average across the Americas is 27.3%.

9. Beyond Rwanda, other African countries with a high percentage of female members of parliament include the tiny Seychelles islands (43.8%) in fourth place, Senegal (42.7%) in sixth place and South Africa (42%) in eighth place globally.

10. The Sub-Saharan African average is women making up 23.3% of MPs.

Sources: Inter-Parliamentary Union and The Globalist Research Center

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