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Top 10 African countries with the lowest percentage of women in parliament 2024 

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Women in Africa Politics

The pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 depends significantly on achieving women’s equal participation and leadership in political and public spheres.  

However, recent data show an opposing reality: women remain severely underrepresented across all levels of decision-making worldwide, highlighting a substantial gap in achieving gender parity in political life. 

In dissecting the three arms of government – legislative, executive, and judicial – the pivotal role of parliaments, an assembly of representatives of a political nation, as the supreme legislative authority emerges prominently.  

Women in national parliaments 

According to the United Nations Women’s Organisation, only 26.5 percent of parliamentarians in single or lower houses globally are women currently, marking a modest increase from 11 percent recorded in 1995. 

  • Only six countries boast gender parity or more in their national parliaments’ single or lower houses, including Rwanda, Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates. 
  • While progress has been made, with 23 additional countries achieving or surpassing the 40 percent mark, disparities persist, particularly in states where women hold less than 10 percent of parliamentary seats. 
  • The trajectory towards gender parity in national legislative bodies appears sluggish, with projections indicating that the milestone may not be reached before 2063 if current trends persist. 
  • Examining regional disparities, Latin America and the Caribbean lead with women holding 36 percent of parliamentary seats, followed by Europe and Northern America with 32 percent.  
  • However, sub-Saharan Africa lags behind at 26 percent, followed by Eastern and South-Eastern Asia at 22 percent. 

Women in parliament in Africa 

In Africa, the pursuit of gender parity in political representation has seen varied approaches, with a predominant reliance on special measures like quotas to elevate women’s participation in parliamentary affairs.  

  • According to research, approximately 41 out of 54 African nations have implemented constitutional, legislated, or voluntary party quotas to facilitate the election of women to legislative bodies. 
  • Interestingly, those countries that have not embraced legislated quotas or robust voluntary party quotas tend to be Anglophone nations employing a plurality majority (first-past-the-post) electoral system, including Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia.  
  • This electoral framework, characterised by a first-past-the-post mechanism, has been identified as less conducive to the elevation of women candidates compared to proportional representation systems.  
  • Under the proportional representation (PR) system, where legislative seats are distributed based on the proportion of votes garnered by political parties, women tend to secure more significant representation.  
  • However, the first-past-the-post system often favours established political networks, posing challenges for women seeking elected office. 

In Nigeria, for instance, the 2008 Uwais Electoral Reform Panel Report proposed a special measure to address this imbalance by recommending the creation of 108 additional federal legislative seats to be filled through proportional representation.  

African countries with the lowest percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament. 


10. Ghana

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 14:55% 

Ghana’s parliament operates a unicameral legislative system. There are 40 women in the 275-member parliament. 


 9. São Tomé and Príncipe 

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 14.55% 

The São Tomé and Príncipe’s parliament operates a unicameral legislature known as the Assembleia nacional (National Assembly). There are currently 8 women in its 55-member Assembleia nacional.  


8. Côte d’Ivoire

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 13.39% 

The National Assembly and the Senate make up the bicameral structure of Côte d’Ivoire’s parliament.  

There are currently 34 women in the 254-member National Assembly.  


7. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 12.79% 

The parliament operates as the bicameral legislative body in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has two chambers: the Senate and the Assemblée nationale (National Assembly).  

  • Currently, out of the 477 members of the National Assembly, 61 are women.  

6. Central African Republic 

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 11:43% 

In the Central African Republic, the Assemblée nationale serves as the unicameral legislative body. Presently, out of the 140 members constituting the Assemblée nationale, only 16 are women. 


 5. Botswana 

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 11.11% 

Botswana operates a unicameral structure of parliament known as the National Assembly. There are 7 women in Botswana’s 63-member National Assembly.  


4.Liberia 

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 10.96% 

Liberia’s structure of parliament is bicameral comprising of two independent chambers: the Senate and House of Representatives.  

  • There are currently 8 women of the 73-member House of Representatives.  

3. Guinea-Bissau 

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 9.8% 

Guinea-Bissau’s parliament is called the People’s National Assembly. It operates on a unicameral legislature. Women make up 10 out of the 102-member people’s National Assembly.  


2. The Gambia

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 8.62% 

The Gambia operates on a unicameral structure of parliament. The parliament’s chamber name is the National Assembly. There are currently 5 women in the 58-member National Assembly.  


1. Nigeria 

Percentage of women in lower chambers of parliament: 4.4% 

The Nigerian parliament is known as the National Assembly. The country operates a bicameral legislature made up of two independent chambers: the Senate and House of Representatives.  

The Senate referred to as the red chamber comprises of 109 senators while the House of Representatives referred to as the green chamber comprises of 360 Federal Representatives.  

  • According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Parline’s Global data on national parliaments, there are currently only 16 women in the 360-member House of Representatives.


 African countries with lowest percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament or Senate

10. Somalia

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 25.93% 

The Federal Parliament of Somalia operates a bicameral legislature with two chambers: the upper chamber known as the Aqalka Sare (Upper House) and the lower chamber named Golaha Shacabka (House of the People).  

There are currently 14 women in the 54-member Upper House.  


9. Equatorial Guinea 

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 25% 

Parlamento, Equatorial Guinea’s parliament, operates a bicameral legislature with two chambers: the upper chamber known as Senado (The Senate) and the lower chamber known as the Cámara de los Disputados (Chamber of Deputies).  

Currently, there are 20 women in the 80-member Senate.


 8. Côte d’Ivoire 

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 24.74% 

The National Assembly and the Senate make up the bicameral structure of Côte d’Ivoire’s parliament.  

Presently, 24 women in the 97-member National Assembly.  


7. Gabon

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 24.29% 

Parliament de la transition (Transitional parliamentary) operates a bicameral legislature comprising two chambers: the upper chamber, known as the Sénat de la transition (Transitional Senate) and the lower chamber, named the Assemblée nationale de la transition (Transitional National Assembly).  

There are currently 17 women in the 70-member Sénat de la transition.  


6. Lesotho 

Percentage of women in upper chamber of parliament: 24.24% 

The parliament of Lesotho operates under a bicameral legislature comprising two chambers: the upper chamber, known as the Senate, and the lower chamber, named the National Assembly. 

Presently, there are 8 women in the 33-member Senate.  


5. Democratic Republic of the Congo 

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 23.85% 

The parliament operates as the bicameral legislative body in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has two chambers: the Sénat (Senate) and the Assemblée nationale (National Assembly).  

The Sénat is the upper chamber and the Assemblée nationale is the lower chamber. There are currently 26 women in the 109-member Senate. 


 4. Namibia

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 14.29% 

Namibia’s parliament operates a bicameral legislature. The National Council is its upper chamber while the National Assembly is its lower chamber. There are presently 6 women in the 42-member National Council. 


 3. Liberia 

Percentage of women in upper chambers in parliament: 10% 

The Liberian parliament operates a bicameral structure of legislation. The Liberian Senate is its upper chamber of parliament. Presently, only 3 women make up the 20-member Liberian Senate. 


2. Madagascar  

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 5:56% 

Madagascar operates a bicameral parliament consisting of two chambers: the National Assembly and the Senate (Antenimierandoholona).  

Presently, there is only 1 woman in the 18-member Senate. 


1. Nigeria  

Percentage of women in upper chambers of parliament: 3.67% 

There are currently only 4 women in the 109-member Senate or upper chambers of parliament.  

The current report by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) shows there are no records found of female legislators in Abia, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Osun, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.  

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