Africa – Less Than a Quarter of Legislators Are Women


African countries are still far from achieving women’s equal and effective participation in political decision-making. Women constitute only 24 per cent of the 12,113 parliamentarians in Africa, 25 per cent in the lower houses, and 20 per cent in the upper houses of parliament, according to the first Women’s Political Participation: Africa Barometer 2021 published today.

While local government is often hailed as a training ground for women in politics, women constitute a mere 21 per cent of councillors in the 19 countries for which complete data could be obtained.

These are some of the main findings from the Africa Barometer 2021 published by Gender Links with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). The Barometer is a key resource of the International IDEA-led consortium: Enhancing the Inclusion of Women in Political Participation in Africa (WPP).

The Barometer aims to imbue the African continent, especially legislators and policy makers, with a resource through which they can assess progress over time in WPP; the underlying reasons, and evidence-based arguments to enhance advocacy campaigns. The report comes as the clock ticks down to 2030, the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Africa Barometer 2021 is a wakeup call that there is a huge amount of work to be done to achieve gender equality in African political institutions,” says H.E. Dr Joyce Banda, Former President, Republic of Malawi. “This report is a mirror that allows Africa to identify ways to progress on policies and monitor governments’ progress.”