CHENNAI: India ranks 148 globally in terms of representation of women in executive government and parliament, according to a report published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women. The data published in the report Women in Politics 2017 Map showed that women make up only 11.8 per cent (64 MPs) of the 542-member Lok Sabha and 11 per cent (27) of the 245-member Rajya Sabha.
In terms of women ministers, India ranks 88 with only five ministers (18.5 per cent) in the cabinet. This level of gender representation among ministers is better than the Asian average of 11% but far worse than the leader of the table, Indonesia, which gives 25.6% of its ministerial positions to women.
The report stated that the number of women in executive government and in Parliament worldwide has stagnated, with only a marginal improvement since 2015. The head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, called for reservation for women in lawmaking bodies across the world.
Regionally, women’s representation in the Americas made the most significant gains, according to the report, rising from 22.45 per cent in 2015 to 25 per cent. In Africa, the proportion of female ministers saw a decline after years of steady growth. About 19.7 per cent of the region’s ministerial posts are held by women.
In Europe, the total percentage of women lawmakers stood at 22.5 per cent. A surprise came from the Nordic countries which have traditionally led the global stage in politics, but whose number of female ministers fell by more than 6 per cent to 43.5 per cent.
Among the Arab States, 9.7 per cent of senior executive posts are held by women, led by Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, at 23.1 per cent and 26.7 per cent, respectively.
“These developments show that progress in gender equality remains slow in all structures of power and types of decision-making. Power is still firmly in men’s hands, and although we have witnessed some positive trends—for example, the current record number of 53 women speakers of Parliament out of 273 posts, globally —much remains to be done if women are to play on a level field with men,” said IPU secretary-general Martin Chungong.
“Equal representation in positions of power is a fundamental precondition for truly effective and accountable democracy,” he added. In the sub-continent India fared lower than Bangladesh at 91 and Pakistan at 89. Sri Lanka was positioned 179 as far as representation of women goes.
The report was launched on the sidelines of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women.
A total of 227 countries were analysed in the survey.