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Home / The Course / Why Consider Politics? / Politics and Women
Politics and Women

World-wide statistics reveal an important gender gap in politics even though women represent 50 per cent or more of the population in the world.

The following table illustrates averages of women’s participation in politics in 1997 and 2005.

Parliamentary Houses Jan 1, 1997 Apr 3, 2005
Single House or Lower House 12.0 % 16.1 %
Upper House or Senate 10.1 % 15.0 %
Both Houses Combined 11.7 % 15.9 %

Reference: Inter-Parliamentary Union website, July 2005

The statistics are compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) based on information provided by 187 national parliaments. In its analysis, the IPU ranks countries by their individual participation, starting with the highest. It also offers regional averages for quick comparisons. Statistical data is archived back to 1997. To search for further details by country, see the More on this Issue section for the site URL.    

Why Close the Gender Gap

In a democratic system all citizens should be equally and fairly represented.


The Critical Mass

A critical mass of women in politics should help change the culture of politics and provide a better democratic environment for women and men.


Gender Gap Internationally

There is great variability in women’s participation in parliaments around the world.


Gender Gap in Canada

Women are underrepresented in all levels of government in Canada.


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