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Mapped: Where Women Hold the Most and Least Political Power

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Where Women Hold the Most and Least Political Power

View the medium or highest resolution version of this map to explore all countries.

From the right to vote, to owning property and assets, women’s legal and economic rights have come a long way.

International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8th is an opportunity to commemorate global improvements around gender equality. One big driver for this is women’s political participation—however, progress in this area has not been distributed evenly worldwide.

Women’s Political Power: Share of Ministers in Cabinets

In this map, we dig into how much political power women hold around the world. The Council on Foreign Relations pulls the latest data from UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to examine the shares of women holding ministerial positions in 195 national cabinets.

Here are the top five countries with the highest percentages of women’s political power:

  • 🇪🇸 Spain: 66.7%
  • 🇫🇮 Finland: 61.1%
  • 🇳🇮 Nicaragua: 58.8%
  • 🇨🇴 Colombia: 57.9%
  • 🇦🇹 Austria: 57.1%

Even though women make up half the global population, they’re not always represented at higher levels of government. Only 14 countries have at least 50% women holding ministerial positions in the national cabinet.

CountryRegion% Women in National Cabinet
AfghanistanAsia-Pacific9.7
AlbaniaEurope53.3
AlgeriaMiddle East/North Africa15.2
AndorraEurope50.0
AngolaSub-Saharan Africa40.0
Antigua and BarbudaAmericas15.4
ArgentinaAmericas22.7
ArmeniaEurope7.1
AustraliaAsia-Pacific26.7
AustriaEurope57.1
AzerbaijanEurope3.0
BahamasAmericas6.7
BahrainMiddle East/North Africa4.4
BangladeshAsia-Pacific7.7
BarbadosAmericas26.1
BelarusEurope3.5
BelgiumEurope25.0
BelizeAmericas6.3
BeninSub-Saharan Africa20.8
BhutanAsia-Pacific10.0
BoliviaAmericas25.0
Bosnia and HerzegovinaEurope22.2
BotswanaSub-Saharan Africa21.1
BrazilAmericas9.1
BruneiAsia-Pacific0.0
BulgariaEurope36.8
Burkina FasoSub-Saharan Africa14.3
BurundiSub-Saharan Africa26.1
CambodiaAsia-Pacific9.4
CameroonSub-Saharan Africa14.9
CanadaAmericas50.0
Cape VerdeSub-Saharan Africa21.4
Central African RepublicSub-Saharan Africa20.0
ChadSub-Saharan Africa25.9
ChileAmericas33.3
ChinaAsia-Pacific6.5
ColombiaAmericas57.9
ComorosSub-Saharan Africa8.3
Costa RicaAmericas50.0
Cote d'IvoireSub-Saharan Africa12.8
CroatiaEurope20.0
CubaAmericas21.9
CyprusEurope15.4
Czech RepublicEurope28.6
Democratic Republic of CongoSub-Saharan Africa17.4
DenmarkEurope31.6
DjiboutiSub-Saharan Africa13.0
DominicaAmericas31.3
Dominican RepublicAmericas17.4
East TimorAsia-Pacific18.2
EcuadorAmericas37.9
EgyptMiddle East/North Africa24.2
El SalvadorAmericas47.1
Equatorial GuineaSub-Saharan Africa7.1
EritreaSub-Saharan Africa17.7
EstoniaEurope14.3
EswatiniSub-Saharan Africa31.6
EthiopiaSub-Saharan Africa47.6
FijiAsia-Pacific23.1
FinlandEurope61.1
FranceEurope52.9
GabonSub-Saharan Africa26.1
GambiaSub-Saharan Africa22.2
GeorgiaEurope45.5
GermanyEurope40.0
GhanaSub-Saharan Africa25.0
GreeceEurope11.1
GrenadaAmericas41.7
GuatemalaAmericas13.3
GuineaSub-Saharan Africa10.8
Guinea-BissauSub-Saharan Africa50.0
GuyanaAmericas40.0
HaitiAmericas-
HondurasAmericas33.3
HungaryEurope15.4
IcelandEurope40.0
IndiaAsia-Pacific12.5
IndonesiaAsia-Pacific14.3
IranMiddle East/North Africa6.5
IraqMiddle East/North Africa4.6
IrelandEurope26.7
IsraelMiddle East/North Africa16.7
ItalyEurope33.3
JamaicaAmericas23.5
JapanAsia-Pacific15.8
JordanMiddle East/North Africa13.8
KazakhstanRussia/Central Asia5.0
KenyaSub-Saharan Africa26.1
KiribatiAsia-Pacific0.0
KosovoEurope-
KuwaitMiddle East/North Africa21.4
KyrgyzstanRussia/Central Asia9.5
LaosAsia-Pacific11.1
LatviaEurope23.1
LebanonMiddle East/North Africa31.6
LesothoSub-Saharan Africa7.4
LiberiaSub-Saharan Africa22.2
LibyaMiddle East/North Africa-
LiechtensteinEurope40.0
LithuaniaEurope7.7
LuxembourgEurope29.4
MadagascarSub-Saharan Africa30.0
MalawiSub-Saharan Africa11.1
MalaysiaAsia-Pacific18.5
MaldivesAsia-Pacific25.9
MaliSub-Saharan Africa25.0
MaltaEurope11.8
Marshall IslandsAsia-Pacific10.0
MauritaniaSub-Saharan Africa20.0
MauritiusSub-Saharan Africa12.5
MexicoAmericas35.0
MicronesiaAsia-Pacific22.2
MoldovaEurope11.1
MonacoEurope20.0
MongoliaAsia-Pacific6.7
MontenegroEurope22.2
MoroccoMiddle East/North Africa15.8
MozambiqueSub-Saharan Africa42.9
MyanmarAsia-Pacific3.9
NamibiaSub-Saharan Africa14.8
NauruAsia-Pacific14.3
NepalAsia-Pacific10.5
NetherlandsEurope44.4
New ZealandAsia-Pacific30.0
NicaraguaAmericas58.8
NigerSub-Saharan Africa12.8
NigeriaSub-Saharan Africa10.3
North KoreaAsia and the Pacific-
North MacedoniaEurope21.7
NorwayEurope42.9
OmanMiddle East/North Africa11.1
PakistanAsia-Pacific12.0
PalauAsia-Pacific25.0
PanamaAmericas31.6
Papua New GuineaAsia-Pacific0.0
ParaguayAmericas29.4
PeruAmericas55.0
PhilippinesAsia-Pacific8.6
PolandEurope17.4
PortugalEurope42.1
QatarMiddle East/North Africa7.1
Republic of CongoSub-Saharan Africa21.2
RomaniaEurope17.7
RussiaRussia/Central Asia12.9
RwandaSub-Saharan Africa53.6
Saint Kitts and NevisAmericas11.1
Saint LuciaAmericas15.4
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesAmericas0.0
SamoaAsia-Pacific16.7
San MarinoEurope10.0
Sao Tome and PrincipeSub-Saharan Africa33.3
Saudi ArabiaMiddle East/North Africa0.0
SenegalSub-Saharan Africa21.9
SerbiaEurope19.1
SeychellesSub-Saharan Africa45.5
Sierra LeoneSub-Saharan Africa17.2
SingaporeAsia-Pacific16.7
SlovakiaEurope26.7
SloveniaEurope23.5
Solomon IslandsAsia-Pacific5.0
SomaliaSub-Saharan Africa18.5
South AfricaSub-Saharan Africa48.3
South KoreaAsia-Pacific33.3
South SudanSub-Saharan Africa15.6
SpainEurope66.7
Sri LankaAsia-Pacific6.3
SudanSub-Saharan Africa20.0
SurinameAmericas17.7
SwedenEurope54.6
SwitzerlandEurope42.9
SyriaMiddle East/North Africa13.3
TaiwanAsia-Pacific-
TajikistanRussia/Central Asia5.9
TanzaniaSub-Saharan Africa21.7
ThailandAsia-Pacific0.0
TogoSub-Saharan Africa24.0
TongaAsia-Pacific8.3
Trinidad and TobagoAmericas33.3
TunisiaMiddle East/North Africa6.9
TurkeyEurope11.8
TurkmenistanRussia/Central Asia3.7
TuvaluAsia-Pacific0.0
UgandaSub-Saharan Africa33.3
UkraineEurope35.3
United Arab EmiratesMiddle East/North Africa16.7
United KingdomEurope30.4
United StatesAmericas17.4
UruguayAmericas33.3
UzbekistanRussia/Central Asia8.0
VanuatuAsia-Pacific0.0
VenezuelaAmericas23.5
VietnamAsia-Pacific0.0
YemenMiddle East/North Africa6.3
ZambiaSub-Saharan Africa32.3
ZimbabweSub-Saharan Africa20.8

On the flip side, nine countries have 0% women in their national cabinet, such as Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

The silver lining to this is that Saudi Arabia is actually improving in some areas of women’s economic rights in recent years, such as granting more freedom of movement to travel and prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis on gender.

The Most Powerful Women: Female Heads of State/Government

From Indira Gandhi to Margaret Thatcher, many women have held notable and influential leadership positions in the past, serving as tours de force for the global economy.

Presently, there are only 24 countries with a female head of state or government. Moldova’s Maia Sandu is the latest to rise into a Presidential role as of December 2020. Here’s who the rest are, and their titles.

CountryNameTitle
🇧🇩 BangladeshSheikh HasinaPrime Minister
🇧🇧 BarbadosMia MottleyPrime Minister
🇩🇰 DenmarkMette FrederiksenPrime Minister
🇪🇪 EstoniaKersti KaljulaidPresident
🇪🇪 EstoniaKaja KallasPrime Minister
🇪🇹 EthiopiaSahle-Work ZewdePresident
🇫🇮 FinlandSanna MarinPrime Minister
🇬🇦 GabonRose Christiane Ossouka RapondaPrime Minister
🇬🇪 GeorgiaSalomé ZourabichviliPresident
🇩🇪 GermanyAngela MerkelChancellor
🇬🇷 GreeceKaterina SakellaropoulouPresident
🇮🇸 IcelandKatrín JakobsdóttirPrime Minister
🇱🇹 LithuaniaIngrida ŠimonytėPrime Minister
🇲🇩 MoldovaMaia SanduPresident
🇳🇦 NamibiaSaara Kuugongelwa-AmadhilaPrime Minister
🇳🇵 NepalBidhya Devi BhandariPresident
🇳🇿 New ZealandJacinda ArdernPrime Minister
🇳🇴 NorwayErna SolbergPrime Minister
🇷🇸 SerbiaAna BrnabićPrime Minister
🇸🇬 SingaporeHalimah YacobPresident
🇸🇰 SlovakiaZuzana ČaputováPresident
🇹🇬 TogoVictoire Tomegah DogbéPrime Minister
🇹🇹 Trinidad and TobagoPaula-Mae WeekesPresident
🇹🇼 TaiwanTsai Ing-wenPresident

Last updated: Mar 2, 2021

As the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel holds the longest consecutive term of all female heads of state/government. With 15 years under her belt, Merkel is largely seen as a de facto leader of Europe. However, she intends to step down as chancellor after her term ends in September 2021.

Since 1946, Switzerland has had five total elected or appointed female heads of state or governments—the highest of any country. Simonette Sommaruga, the most recent female president of the nation, was only succeeded in the new year and dropped off this list.

Glass Ceiling in Politics?

While women have made strides in reaching their political potential worldwide, it’s interesting to note that they generally have a harder time ascending to office in larger countries compared to smaller economies.

For example, Estonia is the first country to have two female heads of state/government with both the president and prime minister positions being filled by women. On the flipside, many other countries have never had even one female head of state.

That said, shares of women holding seats in national legislatures are growing worldwide, which means that progress in these upper levels may be just around the corner.

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.”
—Michelle Obama

 

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Politics

Visualizing Biden’s $1.52 Trillion Budget Proposal for 2022

A breakdown of President Biden’s budget proposal for 2022. Climate change initiatives, cybersecurity, and additional social programs are key areas of focus.

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Visualizing Biden’s Budget Proposal for 2022

On April 9th, President Joe Biden released his first budget proposal plan for the 2022 fiscal year.

The $1.52 trillion discretionary budget proposes boosts in funding that would help combat climate change, support disease control, and subsidize social programs.

This graphic outlines some key takeaways from Biden’s budget proposal plan and highlights how funds could be allocated in the next fiscal year.

U.S. Federal Budget 101

Before diving into the proposal’s key takeaways, it’s worth taking a step back to cover the basics around the U.S. federal budget process, for those who aren’t familiar.

Each year, the president of the U.S. is required to present a federal budget proposal to Congress. It’s usually submitted each February, but this year’s proposal has been delayed due to alleged issues with the previous administration during the handover of office.

Biden’s publicized budget only includes discretionary spending for now—a full budget that includes mandatory spending is expected to be released in the next few months.

Key Takeaways From Biden’s Budget Proposal

Overall, Biden’s proposed budget would increase funds for a majority of cabinet departments. This is a drastic pivot from last year’s proposal, which was focused on budget cuts.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest departmental changes, and their proposed spending for 2022:

Department2022 Proposed Spending (Billions)% Change from 2021
Education$29.841%
Commerce$11.428%
Health and Human Services$131.724%
Environmental Protection Agency$11.221%
Interior$17.416%
Agriculture$27.816%
Housing and Urban Development$68.715%
Transportation$25.614%
Labor$14.214%
State and International Aid$63.512%
Treasury$14.911%
Energy$46.110%
Small Business Administration$0.99%
Veteran Affairs$113.18%
Justice$17.45%
Defense$715.02%

One of the biggest boosts in spending is for education. The proposed $29.8 billion would be a 41% increase from 2021. The extra funds would support students in high-poverty schools, as well as children with disabilities.

Health and human services is also a top priority in Biden’s budget, perhaps unsurprisingly given the global pandemic. But the boost in funds extends beyond disease control. Biden’s budget allocates $1.6 billion towards mental health grants and $10.7 billion to help stop the opioid crisis.

There are increases across all major budget categories, but defense will see the smallest increase from 2021 spending, at 2%. It’s worth noting that defense is also the biggest budget category by far, and with a total of $715 billion allocated, the budget lists deterring threats from China and Russia as a major goal.

Which Bills Will Make it Through?

It’s important to reiterate that this plan is just a proposal. Each bill needs to get passed through Congress before it becomes official.

Considering the slim majority held by Democrats, it’s unlikely that Biden’s budget will make it through Congress without any changes. Over the next few months, it’ll be interesting to see what makes it through the wringer.

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Markets

Mapping the World’s Key Maritime Choke Points

Ocean shipping is the primary mode of international trade. This map identifies maritime choke points that pose a risk to this complex logistic network.

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maritime choke points

Mapping the World’s Key Maritime Choke Points

Maritime transport is an essential part of international trade—approximately 80% of global merchandise is shipped via sea.

Because of its importance, commercial shipping relies on strategic trade routes to move goods efficiently. These waterways are used by thousands of vessels a year—but it’s not always smooth sailing. In fact, there are certain points along these routes that pose a risk to the whole system.

Here’s a look at the world’s most vulnerable maritime bottlenecks—also known as choke points—as identified by GIS.

What’s a Choke Point?

Choke points are strategic, narrow passages that connect two larger areas to one another. When it comes to maritime trade, these are typically straits or canals that see high volumes of traffic because of their optimal location.

Despite their convenience, these vital points pose several risks:

  • Structural risks: As demonstrated in the recent Suez Canal blockage, ships can crash along the shore of a canal if the passage is too narrow, causing traffic jams that can last for days.
  • Geopolitical risks: Because of their high traffic, choke points are particularly vulnerable to blockades or deliberate disruptions during times of political unrest.

The type and degree of risk varies, depending on location. Here’s a look at some of the biggest threats, at eight of the world’s major choke points.

maritime choke point risks

Because of their high risk, alternatives for some of these key routes have been proposed in the past—for instance, in 2013 Nicaraguan Congress approved a $40 billion dollar project proposal to build a canal that was meant to rival the Panama Canal.

As of today, it has yet to materialize.

A Closer Look: Key Maritime Choke Points

Despite their vulnerabilities, these choke points remain critical waterways that facilitate international trade. Below, we dive into a few of the key areas to provide some context on just how important they are to global trade.

The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a lock-type canal that provides a shortcut for ships traveling between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Ships sailing between the east and west coasts of the U.S. save over 8,000 nautical miles by using the canal—which roughly shortens their trip by 21 days.

In 2019, 252 million long tons of goods were transported through the Panama Canal, which generated over $2.6 billion in tolls.

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is an Egyptian waterway that connects Europe to Asia. Without this route, ships would need to sail around Africa, which would add approximately seven days to their trips. In 2019, nearly 19,000 vessels, and 1 billion tons of cargo, traveled through the Suez Canal.

In an effort to mitigate risk, the Egyptian government embarked on a major expansion project for the canal back in 2015. But, given the recent blockage caused by a Taiwanese container ship, it’s clear that the waterway is still vulnerable to obstruction.

The Strait of Malacca

At its smallest point, the Strait of Malacca is approximately 1.5 nautical miles, making it one of the world’s narrowest choke points. Despite its size, it’s one of Asia’s most critical waterways, since it provides a critical connection between China, India, and Southeast Asia. This choke point creates a risky situation for the 130,000 or so ships that visit the Port of Singapore each year.

The area is also known to have problems with piracy—in 2019, there were 30 piracy incidents, according to private information group ReCAAP ISC.

The Strait of Hormuz

Controlled by Iran, the Strait of Hormuz links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, ultimately draining into the Arabian Sea. It’s a primary vein for the world’s oil supply, transporting approximately 21 million barrels per day.

Historically, it’s also been a site of regional conflict. For instance, tankers and commercial ships were attacked in that area during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The Bab el-Mandeb Strait

The Bab el-Mandeb Strait is another primary waterway for the world’s oil and natural gas. Nestled between Africa and the Middle East, the critical route connects the Mediterranean Sea (via the Suez Canal) to the Indian Ocean.

Like the Strait of Malacca, it’s well known as a high-risk area for pirate attacks. In May 2020, a UK chemical tanker was attacked off the coast of Yemen–the ninth pirate attack in the area that year.

Due to the strategic nature of the region, there is a strong military presence in nearby Djibouti, including China’s first ever foreign military base.

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