13 Countries With The Most Women In Government

by Elizabeth King

Canada's new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has made history. He announced that half the members of his new cabinet will be women. It comes as no great surprise, as Trudeau has called himself a feminist and has promised to promote a more progressive agenda as prime minister. While Canada does not have the highest number of women in its top government positions, Trudeau's cabinet brings the country into a group of nations that has at least equal male/female representation in such spheres.

As a point of comparison, President Obama's current cabinet is only 25 percent female. However, neither the U.S. nor Canada make it to the top five countries with the most women in government. Based on figures published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in January 2015, the U.S. ranks 29th in the world for representation of women in cabinet / ministerial positions. Had Trudeau been in a position to appoint his half-female cabinet in January, Canada would be tied for fourth in the ranking.

So who is doing well, and who is doing the best in the world at putting women in these top government jobs? Here's a look at the top 13, according to IPU's January figures.


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Finland takes the number-one spot on IPU's list, with 62.5 percent of its 16 ministries headed by women.

Cabo Verde

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Cabo Verde is a small nation off the northwest coast of Africa (it's also called Cape Verde). It has 17 ministers in their government, nine of whom are women, amounting to 52.9 percent representation.


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Sweden's ministers are 52.2 percent women. Their total number of ministers is greater than Finland's or Cabo Verde's with 23 ministers — a total of 12 are lead by women.

France And Lichtenstein


France and Lichtenstein share fourth place, each with 50 percent of their ministries led by women. France has 16 ministries and eight women leading them. The much smaller Lichtenstein has four ministers, two of whom are women.

Nicaragua And Norway


Nicaragua is in fifth place, with eight out of 17 female ministers, a total of 47.1 percent women. Also in fifth place is Norway, which happens to have the exact same figures.



In sixth place is the Netherlands, with 46.7 percent of its heads of ministries occupied by women. The country has 15 ministers, seven of whom are women.

Estonia And Grenada


Estonia has 46.2 percent women holding ministry leadership positions, putting it in seventh place. The country has 13 total ministers, and six of them are women. The country of Grenada shares seventh place, with the same figures as Estonia.


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Iceland comes in eighth place, as 44.4 percent of its ministry leaders are female. Iceland has four women among its nine total ministers.

Italy And Slovenia


Italy and Slovenia are tied for the ninth-place ranking. Both countries have 43.8 percent of their ministries lead by women, and both have seven women serving as ministers out of 16 total.