Bangladesh stood at 111 in a 2021 list of 192 countries ranked by the percentage of elected women representatives in their national parliaments.
Bangladesh is ahead of India (148) and Pakistan (116) in the ranking.
Out of the 350 seats in Bangladesh's parliament, only 20.9% of the seats were won by women in the 2018 election.
Rwanda – currently ranked first in the world – has 49 women MPs in its 80-seat lower house and 10 women in its 26-seat upper chamber, according to data released on January 1 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a multilateral agency.
In the second position is Cuba, where 53.4% of the parliament seats or 313 out of 586 seats have been won by women.
The United Arab Emirates came in 3rd with 50% of women representatives in their parliament.
Nicaragua and New Zealand came in 4th and 5th with 48.4% and 48.3% of women representation in their national parliaments.
Rwanda becomes the crown jewel of Africa
The progressive picture of Rwandan politics is the result of a tragic history of ethnic conflict in the African nation. The gruesome slaughter lasting 100 days in 1994 had 800,000 to 1 million of Rwanda's population killed.
Then Rwanda's population of 5.5 million to 6 million was 60 to 70 percent female. Most of these women had never been educated or raised with the expectations of a career. In pre-genocide Rwanda, it was almost unheard of for women to own land or take a job outside the home.
The genocide opened the workplace to Rwandan women. Moreover, the call for equality was led by President Paul Kagame, who has led the country since his army stopped the genocide.
Kagame decided that Rwanda was so demolished, so broken, it simply could not rebuild with men's labor alone. So the country's new constitution, passed in 2003, decreed that 30 percent of parliamentary seats be reserved for women.
The government also pledged that girls' education would be encouraged and women would be appointed to leadership roles, like government ministers and police chiefs.
The country embraced Kagame's policies and even went beyond his mandatory minimum. In the 2003 election, 48 percent of parliamentary seats went to women. In the next election — 64 percent. Today Rwandan politics is cited as a model of gender inclusiveness.
According to data released on January 1 by IPU Rwanda secured the highest position with 61.3% women lawmakers in the lower house and 38% in the upper chamber.
UAE: the trailblazer in the Middle East
As the majority of the UAE government had introduced policy measures to redress the gender imbalance back in the 2010s, the political structure of the United Arab Emirates has been reshaped and led by women. In the UAE, democratic elections were held for the first time in 2006 and it had included women as both voters and candidates for the first time.
A 2012 study conducted by Dubai's Zayed University students reflected that the male leaders were acutely interested in the advancement of women in UAE politics.
According to UAE Information and services, the Government adopted a decision to establish UAE's Gender Balance Council in May 2015 to ensure that Emirati women continue to play a leading role in the development of the UAE. The Council is charged to oversee the implementation of best practices and processes to ensure federal institutions achieve their gender balance targets, which will support the UAE's vision to become one of the world's top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021.
However, the major advancement in the improved position of women in parliament compared to every other middle eastern nation can be attributed to a 2018 government order. It said Emirati women's representation in the UAE's Federal National Council, FNC, will be increased to 50% in the latest parliamentary term. The decision was reflected in the IPU ranking too.
How 'biggest economies' are doing
Looking at the top economies across the globe, countries like the US, China and Germany are lagging far behind in terms of women representation in the parliament.
The United Kingdom ranked 40 in the latest estimates of IPU. The House of Commons has 33.9% women lawmakers and 27.9% of the members sitting at the House of Lords are women. Among the top grossing countries, the UK sits at the top.
Germany has secured the 49th position as the Federal Diet had 31.5% women legislators and 36.2% in the Federal Council.
The United States has slipped to 68th position as of 2021 ranking in the ranking of women in national parliaments conducted by IPU. It has 27.3% women legislators in the House of Representatives and 25% in the Senate.
China lags far behind at 86th position. Despite their $15.42 trillion GDP, the National People's Congress of China has only 25 percent women lawmakers.
The National Diet of Japan sits outside of the top 100 at 166th position. As of January 2021, only 9.9% of lawmakers sitting in the Japanese lower house were women and 23% in the upper house.