Female Participation in Government Analysis

The French women’s national team currently ranks 4th in the world and are considered among the favorites for the World Cup hosted on their home turf this summer. They ranked 16th in the world for female participation in government with 39.7% of seats in the highest house held by women https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FFWM2011_FRA-GER_20110705_imBorussiapark030.jpg)
Rwanda has a higher rate of government seats filled by women than any other country in the world. Their women’s soccer team, however, currently ranks 140th and will not participate in this summer’s World Cup (https://www.flickr.com/photos/govrw/11288768343)

Another study that can measure the level of empowerment in a nation is the proportion of representatives that serve in the highest house of government that are women.  Nations that hat empower women will frequently have a more equal gender breakdown in their government.  Additionally, governments with a more equal gender breakdown, will often be more supportive and empowering of women.  This analysis attempts to capture whether the female participation in federal government rates are a good indicator for women’s soccer success.

A report published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union lists the percentage of seats in the highest house of government that are held by women in each country.  Perhaps surprisingly, Rwanda is first with 61.3% of their parliamentary seats held by women.  This is due largely to a very intentional effort to ensure gender equality after the genocide that occurred in the country in 1994.  Rwanda was one of just three countries that have over 50% of the seats held by women, with Cuba and Bolivia coming in at second and third.  Sweden was the only country to appear in the top 10 of both rankings.  However, women’s soccer powerhouses Finland, Spain, Norway, New Zealand and France filled up spots 12-16 for female participation in government (they are all in the top 32 of the women’s FIFA rankings currently). The United States came in at 78th out of the 194 countries that reported data, with just 23.5% of the seats held by women in Congress.

The correlation had a positive coefficient, and a t-value of 2.29 and p-value of 0.025.  This means that the two factors are positively correlated in a statistically significant way.  Similar to the Gender Gap Index, the rate of female participation in government has a significant relationship to the success of women’s soccer teams.  Higher rates of female participation correlates with more successful women’s national teams.

While the correlation is proven, the exact causes are impossible to know.  As stated above, high rates of female participation in government can mean that the government will be more empowering of women and enact legislation that supports gender equality.  However, it can also just be an indicator that the country is committed to female rights generally and is a welcoming and supportive place for women.  Either way, it is very interesting to know that these two factors correlate, and it is becoming increasingly clear that countries that empower women have more successful women’s soccer teams.


“Women in national parliaments.” Inter-Parliamentary Union, 1 Jan. 2019, archive.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

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