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A Guinea-Bissau woman shows her inked finger after voting. © Reuters / Joe Penney

Gender equality

We work to increase women’s representation in parliament and empower women MPs.
woman inked finger / © Joseph Penney / Reuters

Many women around the world still lack basic human rights and face discrimination and gender-based violence. The world’s parliaments are no exception. With a global average of 25 per cent women, most parliaments remain male-dominated, and women MPs are often under-represented on decision-making bodies.

The IPU is one of the leading organizations for the empowerment of women, recognizing the link between strong democracies and gender equality in parliaments.

Our work focuses on three main objectives: increasing the number of women in parliament through well-designed quotas and parliamentary caucuses; supporting women in parliament; and transforming parliaments into gender-sensitive institutions that deliver on women’s rights.

To achieve these objectives, the IPU has a wealth of data and tools:

We are the authority on the percentage of women in national parliaments, including comparative analyses between countries and annual studies that look at historical trends over decades. 

We have published landmark reports on sexism and gender-based violence in parliament, looking at both female MPs and female parliamentary staff. (See the 2016 report and the 2018 report on European parliaments.)

Our self-assessment toolkit for gender-sensitive parliaments is an essential reference that has been used by dozens of parliaments around the world. 

Practising what we preach, we have adopted groundbreaking practices ourselves to ensure gender equality in our assemblies, committees and staff.

Gender-equal parliaments
Global percentage of women MPs
Explore gender equality
While more women than ever are being elected to parliaments around the world, equality is still a long way off, and current progress is far too slow.
Gender-sensitive parliaments are institutions that are founded on gender equality, where women and men have an equal right to participate without discrimination or recrimination.
Women account for half the world’s population, yet many face discrimination in work, health care and education, or suffer physical and sexual violence.
Latest news and stories on gender equality
News in brief

The IPU reaffirms its commitments to generation equality

What would a truly equal generation look like? Convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of France and Mexico, this is the question panellists debated at last week’s Generation Equality Forum in Paris.
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News in brief
© UN Women/ Ryan Brown

IPU welcomes Canadian funding to advance gender equality in parliament

The IPU will receive an additional two million Canadian dollars in funding to support its gender equality work in parliament. The three-year project, Gender Equality in Politics, is designed to support the IPU’s work in increasing women’s political empowerment. The funding will also help strengthen the capacity of parliaments to support gender equality at a national level.
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News in brief

New partnership to end sexual violence in conflict

On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict on 19 June, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (OSRSG-SVC), Under-Secretary-General Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary -General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG-SVC), and Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU signed a new Framework of Cooperation Agreement.
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News in brief
Call to Action

Call to Action- On young women’s political participation and leadership

Following a virtual event on 18 November 2020, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth published today a call to action on young women’s participation in politics. The call to action identifies three
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Press releases
Women in Politics 2021

Women in politics: new data shows growth but also setbacks

Despite increases in the number of women at the highest levels of political power, widespread gender inequalities persist, according to the 2021 edition of the IPU-UN Women Map of Women in Politics. The IPU-UN Women Map presents new data for
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Gender equality
Latest publications on gender equality
The IPU-UN Women in Politics 2021 map shows all-time highs for women heads of state, women heads of government, women Speakers of parliament, and women MPs and ministers.
The IPU's annual analysis of women in parliament, based on the previous year's elections.
The IPU-UN Women in Politics 2020 map shows all-time highs for women heads of state, women heads of government, women Speakers of parliament, and women MPs and ministers.
Gender equality
Related events


The 13th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament, convened by the IPU, in close cooperation with the UN and the Austrian Parliament, will take place in Vienna. The Summit will precede the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.
Sep 06 2021
Virtual event
The IPU, in collaboration with UN Women, is hosting Inter-parliamentary Dialogue on Gender-responsive recovery post-COVID-19, in a series of three online meetings taking place once a week between 7 and 21 April 2021.
Apr 07 2021
Virtual event
15:00-16:30 CET Organized with the Kofi Annan Foundation
Nov 25 2020
Gender equality