Representing women: What can we learn from Latin America?

Photo of women in Brazilian Parliament standing in a group with their right fists raised
Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, April 2024 – Report and panel discussion

Panel discussion

Latin America leads the world with the highest percentage of women legislators – 36.8% in national parliaments, 10 percentage points higher than the global average. Despite this, women in politics face significant challenges, including socioeconomic barriers, limited access to leadership roles, and instances of political violence.

In this event from the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, the panel discusses factors contributing to the substantial representation of women in Latin American politics, the influence of gender quotas in Latin America and beyond, and the effects of this representation on legislative processes that can be applied globally.


  • Anna Gwiazda, Reader in Comparative Politics, King’s College London
  • Cecillia Makonyola, Head of Practice and Inclusion, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy
  • Jennifer Piscopo, Professor of Gender and Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Vanilda Souza Chaves, Visiting Researcher, the King’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership and co-author of Representing Women in Latin America
  • Minna Cowper-Coles, Research Fellow, the King’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (Chair)

The report: Representing Women in Latin America

Latin America has taken a leading role in the political representation of women. It is the region of the world with the highest average representation of women in parliament. Several countries have now reached parity, with parity of representation for men and women, such as Mexico, Nicaragua and Cuba.

However, numbers are not everything: power still is not shared equally when cultural attitudes and social norms favour men, or when key decision-making positions continue to be held by men, but numbers do matter.

In Representing Women in Latin America, GIWL synthesises the academic literature with data from the Interparliamentary Union, Ipsos surveys and evidence from international organisations to give a detailed overview of the political representation of women in Latin America.

The report emphasises the presence of women in leadership roles, explores their identities, and assesses the opportunities, obstacles, and the impact they have in public office in Latin America.

Main photo: women MPs in Brazilian Parliament

Read the report

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