Politics around the world is largely a "no woman's land," with women generally excluded from key posts in state, government and political parties, according to a major international report issued Friday.
The report, prepared by the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union, showed women had pushed firmly into political life in Europe and especially Scandinavia but were almost totally absent from power positions in African and Arab states.
"Although substantial progress has been made in the years since World War II, politics by and large remains a 'no-woman's-land' almost everywhere," the IPU said.
Based on a survey completed in October, 1991, the report showed nine countries had a woman as head of state, but in only two--Nicaragua and the Philippines--was she an executive president with real authority.
Only four states--Bangladesh, Dominica, France and Norway--had women prime ministers, while in only three--Botswana, Canada and Colombia--was the prestigious post of foreign minister occupied by a woman.
Nearly 30% of governments worldwide had no women members, and in most countries women ministers were mainly entrusted with social services, health--and women's affairs.