Women Have Very Little Political Power Anywhere In The World

Wendy Davis
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, stands on a near empty senate floor as she filibusters in an effort to kill an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

When Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, announced he had appointed women to half of his government’s cabinet positions, many people asked him why.

“Because it’s 2015,” he replied.

But 2015 isn’t an especially progressive time in the political world for gender equality. There are zero countries where women have equal representation with men. Zero.

A new report on global gender equality by the World Economic Forum, the Geneva-based nonprofit most famous for its uber-elite economic conference in Davos, Switzerland, shows that while women are inching toward global parity in education, health, and to a lesser extent economic outcomes, they are still woefully underrepresented in national governments.

Of 145 countries in the index, only four (Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Nicaragua) are more than halfway toward equality at the parliamentary, ministerial, and head-of-state levels of government. The majority of countries are below a quarter of the way to equality.

This is no accident.

“Political power continues to be one of the great bastions of masculinity, almost anywhere you go in the world,” said Shauna Shames, an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University-Camden, who studies the subject.

Without political power, women can fight and claw their way toward other types of equality, but their fates are still ultimately in the hands of men.

Many of the top 20 countries on the list in terms of political empowerment — including Rwanda, Bangladesh, and Costa Rica — only got there through some sort of quota system that forces political parties to recruit and groom women for political office.

The United States comes in 72nd on the list, about halfway down.

In the U.S., things aren’t getting better. In fact, they are getting worse.

Via The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-political-power_564cb9e4e4b00b7997f88b70

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