SOn the heels of the news that a woman could be the next Israeli Prime Minister, a study released by the United Nations Development Fund for Women claims that women have entered politics in greater numbers than ever in the past decade. The New York Times reports that women account for 18.4% of parliament members worldwide. The good news is that the proportion of women in power has increased by 7 percentage points since 1995. The bad news? If things continue this way, it will take until 2045 for women to reach parity in the developing world. That's 37 years from now.(In case you're wondering, some of the countries with female presidents or prime ministers currently leading are Ireland, New Zealand, Finland, The Philippines, Mozambique, Germany, Liberia, Chile, India and Haiti.) In any case, Rwanda is making big news since, as of its elections on September 15, the majority of the seats in its Parliament (44 of 80) will be held by women. According to a report in The Economist: "That level of representation-once seldom seen outside Scandinavia-has less to do with an upsurge in feminist thinking than with a law passed in 2003 that guaranteed women 30% of the seats. The aim was to break up 'old boy' networks and help the country make a new start in its first elections since the 1994 genocide." The UN suggests that even though there are women in politics, they're still lacking in leadership positions. A Latin American study showed that while 47 percent of party members in Paraguay were women, they held just 19 percent of leadership positions. Some of this is sure to be covered in a documentary airing tonight on PBS, titled Women, Power and Politics. As for the United States of America, where a woman stands in the harbor of New York, welcoming the tired and poor? How many years do you think it will take before we have a woman leading here? U.N. Study Finds More Women in Politics [NY Times] Women Rising [Economist] Cracking the Glass Ceiling, in Rwanda and Elsewhere [NY Times] Related: Current Female World Leader Count [Filibuster Cartoons] Earlier: Foreign Minister Is In Position To Be Israel's First Female PM In 34 Years
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