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Female representation in parliament
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Last updated: 10 March 2020

A friend recently persuaded me to watch The Red Pill, a documentary on a feminist coming to terms with the Men's Rights movement.  While it improved my understanding of some of the nuances around the debate on gender equality, I still disagreed with most of its conclusions. Last week, I was arguing in favour of positive discrimination as a temporary measure for achieving gender equality—my friend, like Jordan Peterson, disagreed.

Some of our disagreement is clearly due to the misuse of statistics. I show in the interactive map below the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments. This is my favourite measure of gender equality, as it is intuitive and speaks directly to the relative impact of women in our societies.

With a miserable female-parliamentarian world average of 22%, our world is still a very patriarchal place. In some countries, like Yemen, the share of females in parliamentary positions is 0%.


New Zealand ranks favourably in comparison to other developed countries—other than Scandinavia—with 38%, compared to 29% in Australia.

Data source: Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva.

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