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Women in Parliament: 20 years in review

In 1995, delegates to the United Nations (UN) Fourth World Conference on Women unanimously signed the Beijing Platform for Action. Described as a “new agenda for women’s empowerment,” its mission statement called for the removal of all “obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres of public and private life”. The Platform set a 30 per cent target for women in decisionmaking, to be achieved through a wide range of strategies, including positive action, public debate, and training and mentoring for women as leaders.
Over the last 20 years, countries around the world have made substantial progress towards this 30 per cent goal. The global average of women in national parliaments has nearly doubled, from 11.3 per cent in 1995 to 22.1 per cent in 2015 (+10.8 points). 2014, however, saw little progress in the percentage of women in national parliaments worldwide, with the global average rising only by 0.3 points, begging the question: have we reached the glass ceiling?

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