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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
26.3
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.
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Gender equality
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The 13th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament (13SWSP) was held on 6 September 2021 in Vienna (Austria) on the theme Women at the centre: From confronting the pandemic to preserving achievements in gender-responsive recovery. Over 26 of the world’s
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Gender equality
Related events
Summit
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Tashkent
Uzbekistan

The 14th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament (14SWSP), convened by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in close cooperation with the Oliy Majlis (Supreme Assembly) of Uzbekistan, will take place in-person, in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), from 8 to 9 September 2022.
Sep 08 2022
Virtual event
To support members of parliament in their efforts to implement the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the IPU will hold a series of webinars for a select group of Parliaments.
May 19 2022
Mar 15 2022
Gender equality