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. 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.

The Barometer is a key resource of the consortium Enhancing the Inclusion of Women in Political Participation in Africa (WPP) which aims to provide legislators and policymakers with data to assess progress in women’s political participation over time.


Publication date
17 March 2021
Number of pages
978-91-7671-397-6 (PDF)
978-91-7671-396-9 (Print)

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Résumé Exécutif


Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Electoral systems and affirmative action

3. Political parties

4. Electoral laws and management

5. Mainstream and social media

6. Civil society organisations

7. Effective participation

Annex 1. Mapping of gender organisations in Africa working on women's political participation

Annex 2. Interviews for the WPP Africa barometer

Annex 3. Latest elections in Africa by year

Annex 4. Women in parliament (LH) by rank 2021

Annex 5. Women in local government in Africa by rank 176

Annex 6. Women in parliament (LH) in Africa 2000, 2010, 2020

Annex 7. Women in parliament in Africa by region

Annex 8. Women in local government in Africa by region

Annex 9. National constitutional and legal instruments for women in decision-making in Africa

Annex 10. WPP in Africa by electoral system and quota. Lower house

Annex 11. WPP in Africa by electoral system and quota. Local government

Annex 12. Women in the top three political party leadership structures in Africa

Annex 13. Women in election management bodies in Africa

Annex 14. Women speakers of parliaments in Africa

Annex 15. Women mayors of capital cities in Africa

Annex 16. Women in top executive positions in Africa

Annex 17. Women and men in cabinet in Africa

Annex 18. Gender division of labour in cabinets of select African countries


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Women’s Political Participation: Africa Barometer 2021

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