Where Women Hold the Most and Least Political Power
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.
|Country||Region||% Women in National Cabinet|
|Algeria||Middle East/North Africa||15.2|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Americas||15.4|
|Bahrain||Middle East/North Africa||4.4|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Europe||22.2|
|Burkina Faso||Sub-Saharan Africa||14.3|
|Cape Verde||Sub-Saharan Africa||21.4|
|Central African Republic||Sub-Saharan Africa||20.0|
|Cote d'Ivoire||Sub-Saharan Africa||12.8|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Sub-Saharan Africa||17.4|
|Egypt||Middle East/North Africa||24.2|
|Equatorial Guinea||Sub-Saharan Africa||7.1|
|Iran||Middle East/North Africa||6.5|
|Iraq||Middle East/North Africa||4.6|
|Israel||Middle East/North Africa||16.7|
|Jordan||Middle East/North Africa||13.8|
|Kuwait||Middle East/North Africa||21.4|
|Lebanon||Middle East/North Africa||31.6|
|Libya||Middle East/North Africa||-|
|Morocco||Middle East/North Africa||15.8|
|North Korea||Asia and the Pacific||-|
|Oman||Middle East/North Africa||11.1|
|Papua New Guinea||Asia-Pacific||0.0|
|Qatar||Middle East/North Africa||7.1|
|Republic of Congo||Sub-Saharan Africa||21.2|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Americas||11.1|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Americas||0.0|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Sub-Saharan Africa||33.3|
|Saudi Arabia||Middle East/North Africa||0.0|
|Sierra Leone||Sub-Saharan Africa||17.2|
|South Africa||Sub-Saharan Africa||48.3|
|South Sudan||Sub-Saharan Africa||15.6|
|Syria||Middle East/North Africa||13.3|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Americas||33.3|
|Tunisia||Middle East/North Africa||6.9|
|United Arab Emirates||Middle East/North Africa||16.7|
|Yemen||Middle East/North Africa||6.3|
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.
|🇧🇩 Bangladesh||Sheikh Hasina||Prime Minister|
|🇧🇧 Barbados||Mia Mottley||Prime Minister|
|🇩🇰 Denmark||Mette Frederiksen||Prime Minister|
|🇪🇪 Estonia||Kersti Kaljulaid||President|
|🇪🇪 Estonia||Kaja Kallas||Prime Minister|
|🇪🇹 Ethiopia||Sahle-Work Zewde||President|
|🇫🇮 Finland||Sanna Marin||Prime Minister|
|🇬🇦 Gabon||Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda||Prime Minister|
|🇬🇪 Georgia||Salomé Zourabichvili||President|
|🇩🇪 Germany||Angela Merkel||Chancellor|
|🇬🇷 Greece||Katerina Sakellaropoulou||President|
|🇮🇸 Iceland||Katrín Jakobsdóttir||Prime Minister|
|🇱🇹 Lithuania||Ingrida Šimonytė||Prime Minister|
|🇲🇩 Moldova||Maia Sandu||President|
|🇳🇦 Namibia||Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila||Prime Minister|
|🇳🇵 Nepal||Bidhya Devi Bhandari||President|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||Jacinda Ardern||Prime Minister|
|🇳🇴 Norway||Erna Solberg||Prime Minister|
|🇷🇸 Serbia||Ana Brnabić||Prime Minister|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Halimah Yacob||President|
|🇸🇰 Slovakia||Zuzana Čaputová||President|
|🇹🇬 Togo||Victoire Tomegah Dogbé||Prime Minister|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||Paula-Mae Weekes||President|
|🇹🇼 Taiwan||Tsai Ing-wen||President|
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.”
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Mapped: Which Ports are Receiving the Most Russian Fossil Fuel Shipments?
Russia’s energy exports have become a hot topic. See which ports received fossil shipments during the first 100 days of the Ukraine invasion
As the invasion of Ukraine wears on, European countries are scrambling to find alternatives to Russian fossil fuels.
In fact, an estimated 93% of Russian oil sales to the EU are due to be eliminated by the end of the year, and many countries have seen their imports of Russian gas plummet. Despite this, Russia earned €93 billion in revenue from fossil fuel exports in the first 100 days of the invasion.
While the bulk of fossil fuels travel through Europe via pipelines, there are still a number marine shipments moving between ports. The maps below, using data from MarineTraffic.com and Datalastic, compiled by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), are a look at Russia’s fossil fuel shipments during the first 100 days of the invasion.
Russia’s Crude Oil Shipments
Much of Russia’s marine shipments of crude oil went to the Netherlands and Italy, but crude was also shipped as far away as India and South Korea.
India became a significant importer of Russian crude oil, buying 18% of the country’s exports (up from just 1%). From a big picture perspective, India and China now account for about half of Russia’s marine-based oil exports.
It’s important to note that a broad mix of companies were involved in shipping this oil, with some of the companies tapering their trade activity with Russia over time. Even as shipments begin to shift away from Europe though, European tankers are still doing the majority of the shipping.
Russia’s Liquefied Natural Gas Shipments
Unlike the gas that flows along the many pipeline routes traversing Europe, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is cooled down to a liquid form for ease and safety of transport by sea. Below, we can see that shipments went to a variety of destinations in Europe and Asia.
Fluxys terminals in France and Belgium stand out as the main destinations for Russian LNG deliveries.
Russia’s Oil Product Shipments
For crude oil tankers and LNG tankers, the type of cargo is known. For this dataset, CREA assumed that oil products tankers and oil/chemical tankers were carrying oil products.
Huge ports in Rotterdam and Antwerp, which house major refineries, were the destination for many of these oil products. Some shipments also went to destinations around the Mediterranean as well.
All of the top ports in this category were located within the vicinity of Europe.
Russia’s Coal Shipments
Finally, we look at marine-based coal shipments from Russia. For this category, CREA identified 25 “coal export terminals” within Russian ports. These are specific port locations that are associated with loading coal, so when a vessel takes on cargo at one of these locations, it is assumed that the shipment is a coal shipment.
The European Union has proposed a Russian coal ban that is expected to take effect in August. While this may seem like a slow reaction, it’s one example of how the invasion of Ukraine is throwing large-scale, complex supply chains into disarray.
With such a heavy reliance on Russian fossil fuels, the EU will be have a busy year trying to secure substitute fuels – particularly if the conflict in Ukraine continues to drag on.
Explainer: What Drives Gasoline Prices?
Gasoline prices across the U.S. have reached record-highs. Why? This graphic helps explain what factors influence the cost of gasoline.
What Drives Gasoline Prices?
Across the United States, the cost of gas has been a hot topic of conversation lately, as prices reach record-breaking highs.
The national average now sits at $5.00 per gallon, and by the end of summer, this figure could grow to $6 per gallon, according to estimates by JPMorgan.
But before we can have an understanding of what’s happening at the pump, it’s important to first know what key factors influence gasoline prices.
This graphic, using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), outlines the main components that influence gasoline prices, providing each factor’s proportional impact on price.
The Four Main Factors
According to the EIA, there are four main factors that influence the price of gas:
- Crude oil prices (54%)
- Refining costs (14%)
- Taxes (16%)
- Distribution, and marketing costs (16%)
More than half the cost of filling your tank is influenced by the price of crude oil. Meanwhile, the rest of the price at the pump is split fairly equally between refining costs, marketing and distribution, and taxes.
Let’s look at each factor in more depth.
Crude Oil Prices
The most influential factor is the cost of crude oil, which is largely dictated by international supply and demand.
Despite being the world’s largest oil producer, the U.S. remains a net importer of crude oil, with the majority coming from Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. Because of America’s reliance on imports, U.S. gas prices are largely influenced by the global crude oil market.
A number of geopolitical factors can influence the crude oil market, but one of the biggest influences is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia.
Established in 1960, OPEC was created to combat U.S. dominance of the global oil market. OPEC sets production targets for its 13 member countries, and historically, oil prices have been linked to changes in OPEC production. Today, OPEC countries are responsible for about 60% of internationally traded petroleum.
Oil needs to be refined into gasoline before it can be used by consumers, which is why refining costs are factored into the price of gas.
The exact cost of refining varies, depending on a number of factors such as the type of crude oil used, the processing technology available at the refinery, and the gasoline requirements in specific parts of the country.
In general, refining capacity in the U.S. has not been keeping up with oil demand. Several refineries shut down throughout the pandemic, but even before COVID-19, refining capacity in the U.S. was lagging behind demand. Incredibly, there haven’t been any brand-new refining facilities built in the country since 1977.
In the U.S., taxes also play a critical role in determining the price of gas.
Across America, the average gasoline tax is $0.57 per gallon, however, the exact amount fluctuates from state to state. Here’s a look at the top five states with the highest gas taxes:
|Rank||State||Gas tax (per gallon)|
*Note: figures include both state and federal tax
States with high gas taxes usually spend the extra money on improvements to their infrastructure or local transportation. For instance, Illinois doubled its gas taxes in 2019 as part of a $45 billion infrastructure plan.
California, the state with the highest tax on gas, is expecting to see a rate increase this July, which will drive gas prices up by around three cents per gallon.
Distribution and Marketing Costs
Lastly, the costs of distribution and marketing have an impact on the price of gas.
Gasoline is typically shipped from refineries to local terminals via pipelines. From there, the gasoline is processed further to ensure it meets market requirements or local government standards.
Gas stations then distribute the final product to the consumer. The cost of running a gas station varies—some gas stations are owned and operated by brand-name refineries like Chevron, while others are smaller-scale operations owned by independent merchants.
The big-name brands run a lot of advertisements. According to Morning Consult, Chevron, BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., and Royal Dutch Shell PLC aired TV advertisements in the U.S. more than 44,495 times between June 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2021.
How Does the Russia-Ukraine Conflict Impact U.S. Gas Prices?
If only a fraction of America’s oil comes from Russia, why is the Russia-Ukraine conflict impacting prices in the U.S.?
Because oil is bought and sold on a global commodities market. So, when countries imposed sanctions on Russian oil, that put a squeeze on global supply, which ultimately drove up prices.
This supply shock could keep prices high for a while unless the U.S. falls into a recession, which is a growing possibility based on how recent data is trending.
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