Britain has fallen out of the international top 50 for women's political representation, with its proportion of female MPs ranking well below those of Mozambique, Iraq, Mexico, and Tunisia, IRNA reported from London.
The UK is listed at 51 in the Inter-Parliamentary Union's (IPU) latest world table, with women making up less than 20 per cent of MPs in the 646-seat House of Commons. Iraq is placed 17th with 31.5 per cent, while Iran lingers at 127th with 4.1 per cent, ahead of Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.
The fall in Britain's position comes despite a record number of 128 women being elected in May's general election, up from 118 in 2001.
A new report on Women at the Top, published by parliament's Hansard Society this week, warns that only all-women shortlists of parliamentary candidates will close the gender gap.
In the House of Commons, Labour, which has used all-women shortlists, has nearly 28 per cent of women MPs, while the opposition Conservatives, which has not, has only 8.6 per cent.
The more recent introduction of shortlist quotas by the Liberal Democrats has also led to a boost in the party's 16 per cent of women MPs.
The IPU table places Rwanda as leading the world with 48.9 per cent women parliamentarians, followed by Sweden with 45.3 per cent, Norway with 37.9 per cent, Finland with 37.5 per cent and Denmark with 36.9 per cent.
... Payvand News - 11/16/05 ... --