Women MP numbers at record, but still far from parity: IPU
The world association of parliaments said Monday that the number of women in parliaments was at a record high, but warned that gender parity was still out of reach in many countries.
At the end of 2010, women made up a fifth of parliamentarians worldwide, up from 16.3 percent in 2005.
"It is a small but significant gain," said the Inter-Parliamentary Union in a statement.
In 2010, some 43 chambers of parliaments met the UN target of including at least 30 percent of women MPs.
However, 62 chambers remained below the 10 percent mark and 10 chambers included no women at all.
Arab states remained at the bottom of the table, with an average of 11.7 percent in female representation in parliaments.
Nevertheless, this marked progress from 4.3 percent in 1995, thanks to the introduction of a quota system in some countries such as Egypt.
Pacific states were also weak, with four countries -- Nauru, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu, which held elections in 2010, returning no female MPs to parliament.
Northern European states remained the leader in parliamentary gender parity, with 39.3 percent of parliament made out of women in Belgium, 40.7 percent in the Netherlands and 45 percent in Sweden.
The IPU is an association of 155 national parliaments around the world.
© 2011 AFP