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Female parliamentarians are on the rise across the UNECE region

The percentage of women in parliament has increased across the UNECE region over the last ten years, bringing the average in UNECE member countries from 19% in 2005 to 25% in 2015.  In 2015, women accounted for at least 10% of members in all national parliaments. In 2005, 9 countries were still below this benchmark.

Countries which previously recorded female proportions below 15% have experienced especially sharp rises over the last decade. For example, the percentage of women in the Slovenian parliament increased from 12% to 37%. Similarly, Kyrgyzstan, the country with the lowest percentage of females in parliament in 2005 (3%), was only slightly below the UNECE average in 2015 (23%).

In contrast, decreases in the share of women in national parliaments over this period were few and small in magnitude. Of the seven countries with decreases over the last decade, the largest decrease, 4 percentage points, was experienced by Cyprus where the number of females in parliament dropped from 9 to 7.

The Beijing Platform for Action (1995) identified women in power and decision-making as one of the twelve critical gender equality concerns. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda includes a target “Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life”, for which the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments is one of the indicators.

Source: UNECE Statistical Database.

Notes: Graphs present data for 52 UNECE member states. Due to lack of data, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia are not included in the 2005 figure and Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino are not included in either figure. The numbers refer to the parliaments’ lower or single houses.