Preface Malliga Och Have women achieved political parity? To many, the answer is a resound- ing yes. After all, women can vote in every country in the world, and wherever we look today, we see women in politics: German chancellor Angela Merkel, Liberian president Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, and New Zea- land prime minister Jacinda Ardern all invoke images of powerful leaders. In the United States, the 2020 Democratic primary field included six women presidential candidates. Countries as diverse as Canada, France, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Finland have gender-balanced cabi- nets, where the same numbers of women and men are appointed to cabinet positions (IKnowPolitics 2019). Gender-balanced parliaments exist in Rwanda (61.3 percent), Cuba (53.4 percent), the United Arab Emirates (50 percent) and Mexico (50 percent), and in another twenty countries— for example, in Sweden, Namibia, and Argentina—women occupy over 40 percent of parliamentary seats (IPU Parline 2022b). Yet, when we look a little bit closer, the picture becomes more compli- cated. When it comes to universal suffrage, it took 122 years from the first time women were granted the right to vote in 1893 (New Zealand) until 2015 when Saudi Arabia became the last country to enfranchise women. While women leaders were lavishly praised in 2020 for their han- dling of the COVID-19 pandemic, women only lead 22 countries, and 119 countries have never elected a woman as president or prime minister (UN Women 2021). While gender-balanced cabinets under Trudeau and Macron made headlines, women only make up 20.1 percent of cabinets globally. Three countries have majority-women parliaments, but the average per- centage of women in parliaments worldwide is 26.5 percent (IPU Parline 2022a). And twenty-three countries have fewer than 10 percent of women in their parliaments, including Japan, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka (IPU
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