As of November 2009, women accounted for only 14 of the world's heads of government and 18.6 percent of all parliaments. Following the September 2008 elections, Rwanda led the world with the largest number of women in government, with 56 percent of its lower-house seats filled by women.

No other country has achieved this percentage of female governmental representatives. The Nordic countries as a region, however, lead the world, with 42.5 percent of the parliamentary seats filled by women. Two factors may contribute to higher numbers of women in parliaments worldwide: the system of government and constitutional and/or party rules, which promote gender equity, including quotas. Rwanda uses a proportional system with quotas to elect its parliament. Nearly one-third of its seats are elected by a ...

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