Female Representatives in the Americas

Feb. 22, 2019 Weekly Graphs

In 2014, Latin America could proudly proclaim to have four female presidents; in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica. Despite these female heads-of-state political representation of women in the region, as in so many other parts of the world, remains below parity. Aiming to reduce this gap, a majority of the countries in the region (16 out of 18) have gender quota laws or parity systems for female representatives in national parliaments. (Argentina pioneered these affirmative action tools 1991.) While most parliaments continue to fall short of gender parity, these policies have led to an improvement in the representation of women, with Latin American now ranked below only the Nordic countries (Inter-Parliamentary Union).

Using our Scatter Chart tool, this week’s graph illustrates the percentage of female lower chamber legislators in the Americas from 1991 to 2017. All the countries from the Americas are represented in the chart, including the Caribbean. The figure shows a general increase in female representation across the continent, with the highest rates found in 2017 for Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico, each of which are among the top 10 countries in the world for women’s representation. Although some countries still struggle to reach their quotas (such as Brazil which has only 10.7% of female legislators despite its 30% quota), the observed evolution over the last decades is a positive development for the region.  

To learn more about political participation of women, explore our analysis tools at v-dem.net.

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