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Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: Female governance gap

March is International Women’s History month, but while women account for just over half the world’s population, the overwhelming majority of political leaders and policymakers globally are men. In fact, there are just six countries where women make up more than 50% of the national legislature, and only 31 countries (out of 193 UN member states) in which a woman is either head of state or head of government. Furthermore, only one G7 country - Italy - currently has an elected female leader. While some countries have introduced controversial gender quotas at various stages in the electoral process as a bid to increase female participation, there's lots of progress still to be made. Here's a look at the facts and figures.

Gabriella Turrisi

Women in power: Chile’s Michelle Bachelet

Whose job is it to keep an eye on the governments that kill, torture, and displace people? The officials who turn back asylum-seekers, abuse migrants, jail journalists, or smash the skulls of peaceful protesters?

That's more or less a day at the office for Michelle Bachelet. As the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018, the former two-time leftwing president of Chile is perhaps the most visible and influential voice on human rights in the world today.

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The day women around the world flooded the streets
The Day Women Around the World Flooded the Streets | International Women's Day 2021 | GZERO World

The day women around the world flooded the streets

A global look at the celebrations, protests, and riots spurred by International Women's Day, March 8, 2021. It was a day that millions of women across the world took to the streets to demand that their voices be heard.

Watch the GZERO World with Ian Bremmer episode: Why the pandemic has been worse for women: UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Taiwan's first female president has become a transformational leader for the self-governing island despite the growing threat from China. Here are a few things to know about Tsai Ing-wen, the woman in the world Beijing fears the most.

Gabriella Turrisi

Women in power — Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen

There is perhaps no woman in the world whom China fears more than Tsai Ing-en, president of Taiwan. When Tsai, an outspoken advocate of Taiwanese independence, campaigned for the presidency in 2016, Chinese state media questioned whether a woman could lead the self-governing island. She won, becoming Taiwan's first female leader.

Four years later, Beijing raised doubts about her not only because she is a woman, but because she is unmarried and has no children. She won again, this time in a landslide widely seen as a major blow to Beijing.

Today she is one of the region's most transformational leaders — pushing Taiwan to punch above its weight in global affairs, turning it into a beacon for gender equality in Asia, and overseeing one of the most effective responses to the pandemic. All of this, of course, while dealing with the growing threat that China, under Xi Jinping, will make good on its long-standing pledge to reunify Taiwan with the mainland — by force if necessary.

Here are a few aspects of Tsai's policies and approach that you should know.

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Protesters gather during the Women's March 4 Justice in Melbourne.

AAP Image/James Ross

What We’re Watching: Australian women demand change, Mexico’s immigration crackdown, US vs ISIS in Mozambique

Australian women are fed up: Australia's conservative government is facing intense scrutiny after tens of thousands of women marched across the country earlier this week to protest sexual abuse and harassment, which they say is rife — including within the "old boys' club" of politicians in Canberra. The protests follow a spate of recent rape allegations made by former staffers against powerful Canberra insiders, including the sitting Attorney General Christian Porter. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under fire for siding with Porter, who vehemently denies the decades-old rape allegations, and for initially refusing to back a thorough investigation. The country's next federal election isn't until next year (though it could come sooner) but the opposition Labour Party has already benefited from the outrage at Morrison's Liberal party, and is pulling ahead in the polls.

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Women in power — Canada's Chrystia Freeland

Heads of state and government typically dominate the spotlight, but it's the office holders that work for and around them who are responsible for some of the biggest policy decisions that forge their country's place in the world. In 2021, still, women leaders are even more likely to go under the radar than their male counterparts.

This International Women's History Month, we shine a light on a few women around the world who are pulling the levers of power.

Chrystia Freeland — dubbed by POLITICO as "Canada's Minister of Everything" — serves as deputy prime minister, finance minister, and was recently foreign minister and a top trade liaison. What sets her apart from many of her counterparts, and how has her worldview shaped her policymaking?

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