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Electoral Politics

The US ranks 43rd in the world in its percentage of women elected to its national legislature.

Currently women hold only 12% of the seats in US Congress, a lower percentage than Mexico, South Africa, and Seychelles.

In 1998, fewer than half the states in the US elected any women to the House of Representatives.

Sweden's legislature is 43% women, the highest percentage in the world. Sweden is followed by Denmark, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands, all of which have at least three times the number of women than the US Congress.

In the US, only three out of 50 states have female governors.

Only one of largest 25 US cities has a female mayor.

Although outnumbered 8-1, women in US Congress have been successful in gaining legislation neglected by men, including gender equity, child support, and laws for the prevention of violence against women.

Last year, women won 39% of seats in Scotland and Wales' first elections with proportional representation. Proportional representation voting systems allow political parties or groups representation with only 5% of the vote.

In countries which employ two voting systems--proportional representation and US-style "winner take all"--women are three times more likely to be elected through proportional representation.

("American Women have a long way to go" by Steven Hill and Rob Ritchie,


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