‘Not enough women in cabinet’: Disturbing trend the world over

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February 19, 2013

LONDON: British PM David Cameron's confession in Mumbai that he hasn't "appointed enough women to cabinet" has thrown open a global trend — the number of women ministers across countries are abysmally low.

While only four out of Cameron government's 27 cabinet ministers are women, globally too, the percentage of women ministers improved but by just over 2% in eight years time — from 14.2% in 2005 to 16.7% in 2012.

February 19, 2013

LONDON: British PM David Cameron's confession in Mumbai that he hasn't "appointed enough women to cabinet" has thrown open a global trend — the number of women ministers across countries are abysmally low.

While only four out of Cameron government's 27 cabinet ministers are women, globally too, the percentage of women ministers improved but by just over 2% in eight years time — from 14.2% in 2005 to 16.7% in 2012.

Cameron had earlier pledged that one third of all his ministers would be women — a target even India has been trying to achieve. United Nations Millennium Development Goal analysis shows that by the January-end 2012, women accounted for 19.7% of parliamentarians worldwide — a 75% increase since 1995, when women held 11.3% of seats worldwide, and a 44% increase over the 2000 level.

UN said that while trends point to an increase in women's parliamentary representation, the rate of representation remains low overall.

In India for example, in a 11-year period between 1991 and 2012 their presence has gone up marginally from 9.7% to 10.96%.

The highest level is found in the Nordic countries, especially following recent gains in Denmark and Finland. Across the world, the most common ministerial portfolios held by women ministers have tended to be in been social affairs, family and youth, women's affairs or education.

This remains largely the case, although in 2012 employment and labour emerged as the fourth most common ministerial portfolio held by women. Among developing regions, Latin America and the Caribbean continue to rank the highest, with a 23% average. It is Latin America that had the country with the greatest progress in 2011: Nicaragua.

The Nicaraguan party had a voluntary party quota for women of 30%. In the 2011 elections, more than 50% of its seats were won by women.


Courtesy: TOI