Today, for International Women’s Day, let’s see which country tops the list of female representation in Parliament.

Rwanda. Of 80 seats in the lower house, 49 are held by women (61 percent), as are 10 of the 26 in the upper house (38 percent), according to an international organization of parliaments. Since 2003, the country has required that at least 30 percent of representatives be female.


Listening to Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. chief, speak to the Rwandan Parliament in 2008. The country requires that at least 30 percent of its representatives be women.CreditLionel Healing/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Next is Bolivia, where a 2009 measure requires women to occupy at least 50 percent of elected positions. Women now hold 69 of the 130 seats in the lower house (53 percent) and 17 of 36 in the upper house (47 percent).

Cuba, which is third, uses “positive discrimination,” putting women in almost half the seats in the National Assembly.

Iceland, Nicaragua, Sweden, Senegal, Mexico, Finland and South Africa fill out the top 10. The U.S. is No. 104, with 83 women out of 435 representatives, and 21 of 100 senators.

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them,” the Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, told a Harvard graduating class in 2011. “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

Caryn A. Wilson contributed reporting.