Our award-winning reporting has moved

Context provides news and analysis on three of the world’s most critical issues:

climate change, the impact of technology on society, and inclusive economies.

FACTBOX-Following Finland: 9 facts about women in government

by Giulia Basana | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:45 GMT

As the Nordic nation blazes a trail putting women in positions of power what are other countries doing?

By Giulia Basana

LONDON, Dec 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sanna Marin, 34, started her first day on Wednesday as the world's youngest prime minister after being sworn in as Finland's third female government leader.

Marin, who comes from a modest background and was raised by a single mother, will head a coalition with four other parties that are all led by women, three of whom are in their early 30s.

As the Nordic nation blazes a trail putting women in positions of power what are other countries doing?

1. The world's first non-hereditary female head of government in modern history was Sri Lanka's Sirimavo Bandaranaike who took over her party's leadership in 1960. Her daughter, Chandrika, won the presidential election in 1994.

2. Rwanda's government has the highest level of female representation with nearly two thirds of its parliamentary seats occupied by women. This figure is well above the global average of 24 percent.

3. Cuba and Bolivia are the only other two countries that count more women than men in their parliaments.

4. More than 80 countries have never been ruled by a woman including the United States, Russia, Japan, Spain, Italy and Saudi Arabia.

5. The European country with the highest number of women in parliament is Sweden, the fifth globally. The United Kingdom is thirty-ninth, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

6. Women make a difference in politics. A report by United Nations Women conducted in India showed there were 62% more drinking water projects in regions of the country governed by women than in those led by men.

7. Women in power "can be counted on to raise issues that others overlook, to support ideas that others oppose and to seek an end to abuses that others accept," said Madeline Albright, chairwoman of The National Democratic Institute, in 2018.

8. Women's representation in national parliaments globally has increased from 17.8% in 2008 to 24.1% in 2018, according to the Democratic Institute.

9. The Middle East witnessed the most dramatic change: women made up only 3.1 percent of governments in 1998 compared to 17.5 percent today.

Sources: World Economic Forum, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Encyclopedia Britannica, Maps of the World, Center for American Women and Politcs, Democratic Institute. (Editing by Tom Finn,

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.