The Global Women's Leadership Initiative Index (The Leadership Index) shows us where women are in governments around the world, how much power they hold and how they got to their positions of leadership.

We explore the data through three pillars – pathways, positions and power – to understand the correlations between different variables, decisions and policies and how those decisions ultimately affect how much power women hold in public office. The Leadership Index focuses on positions across the five sectors of government: executive, legislative, judiciary, civil service and security — and also from the national to local levels.

The Index and the Data Portal are initiatives of the Women Public Service Project which has the goal of increasing the percentage of women in public office to 50% by 2050: 50x50.

The groundbreaking methodology of the Leadership Index gives us a more comprehensive view of women's leadership globally. Initial findings of the Leadership Index can help policymakers and global leaders identify where we need to go to reach 50x50.


  ​​​​​WHICH SECTOR OF GOVERNMENT HAS THE MOST WOMEN LEADERS?

 

Civil Service

The civil service serves as the “high water mark” with the highest level of representation (43.9%), followed by the executive branch.

The lowest representation is found in the national security sector, where women make up 18.2% of state-level police forces and 9.5% of the militaries of NATO members.

Civil Service also has the highest proportion of women in leadership positions (29.7%).

Data indicates that civil service may become the first government sector to achieve parity in participation as well as leadership.

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IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PATHWAYS TO LEADERSHIP AVAILABLE TO WOMEN AND THE POWER A WOMAN CAN HOLD?

 

pathways

Pathways seems to matter most when considering "glass walls," or which types of sectors within government women work.

There is a statistically significant relationship between pathways and power.

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WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PERCEPTION AND PARITY?

 

Perception Matters

Perceptions of women in public life can be related to the kinds of leadership positions women hold.

Women are more likely to break “glass walls” in a country when the public feels women make good leaders in public and private sectors and should have equal access to jobs and education.

Within countries where the public believes women should not have an equal role outside the home all the time, women tend to serve in socio-cultural capacities (such as education and health ministries).

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ARE THERE MORE WOMEN AT THE NATIONAL OR SUBNATIONAL LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT?

 

local leaders

Critical policy decisions are often made at the local level.

There is a strong relationship between representation in municipal councils and parliaments as well as regional assemblies and parliaments.

However, representation of women is currently higher in regional assemblies and municipal councils than in national legislatures.

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