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Women in Australian Parliaments

 A new Background Note, Representation of Women in Australian Parliaments, published by the Parliamentary Library to coincide with International Women's Day, reveals that there are currently more women parliamentarians in the Senate than at any other time since Federation. However, despite occupying several high-profile roles, women are still significantly under-represented in Australian parliaments, comprising less than one-third of all parliamentarians and occupying less than one-quarter of all ministry positions. In addition, whilst the number of women in the Senate reached its highest point after the 2010 Commonwealth election, the number of women in the House of Representatives declined. When comparing the proportion of women in national parliaments internationally, Australia's ranking has slipped from 21 to 38 over the past decade.

The Background Note presents a range of data illustrating the level of women's representation at the Commonwealth, state and territory, and local government levels, with a particular focus on the Commonwealth Parliament. It presents statistical information about women parliamentarians, women in parliamentary leadership positions and ministries, women as chairs of parliamentary committees, and female candidates. It also includes some comparative data relating to women's representation in the state and territory parliaments, identifies current and historical trends, and refers to recent research on structural, social and cultural factors influencing women's representation in parliament.

This post was co-authored by Joy McCann and Janet Wilson.