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.”
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
GDP6 days ago
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry in 2023
Brands2 weeks ago
Ranked: Fast Food Brands with the Most U.S. Locations
Markets2 weeks ago
Visualizing 30 Years of Imports from U.S. Trading Partners
Markets2 weeks ago
Ranked: The Biggest Retailers in the U.S. by Revenue
Globalization2 weeks ago
The Top 50 Largest Importers in the World
Maps1 week ago
Mapped: Which Countries Recognize Israel or Palestine, or Both?
Education1 week ago
Ranked: America’s Best Universities
Countries1 week ago
Ranked: Share of Global Arms Imports in 2022