Databases on Women’s Political Representation


Quality of Government Standard Database” (Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden) consists of approximately 2200 variables from approximately 100 data sources, studying 194 countries from 1946 to 2019. The main objective of the research is to address the theoretical and empirical problems of how political institutions of high quality can be created and maintained. A second objective is to study the effects of Quality of Government on a number of policy areas, including gender equality as well as health, the environment, social policy, and poverty.

Women in National Parliaments” (Inter-Parliamentary Union) database, provides monthly global and regional averages of women in national parliaments from 1997 to the present.

Women in Politics” Map 2020 (IPU and UN Women) presents global rankings for women in executive, government, and parliamentary positions as of 1 January 2020. It shows all-time highs for: (1) the number of countries with women Heads of State and/or Heads of Government, and (2) the global share of women ministers, parliamentary speakers, and parliamentarians.

Women’s Political Leadership Worldwide (Council on Foreign Relations Blog) provides analysis of relevant policies and their impact on women’s global and local political engagement.


Gram Panchayat Reservation Histories (Jharkhand, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh), compiled by Thad Dunning from the staff of State Election Commissions and Departments of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, and/or bureaucrats at the district and block level in various states. Data collection is ongoing, with the page updated as feasible. While the 73rd amendment of the Indian constitution required quotas for weaker groups in rural councils, it left the details of implementation to the states. Thus, the rules for assigning quotas for women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other groups differ across the states, with important consequences for the design of empirical research (see Dunning and Nilekani 2012 with replication materials available here).

Incumbency Profile, 11th Delhi Vidhan Sabha (State Legislative Council), with gender of individuals contesting MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) positions, compiled by Lok Dhaba (Trivedi Centre for Political Data, Ashoka University).

Indian Election Data (Francesca R. Jensenius) is based on the PDF reports available from the Election Commission of India, and subsequently scraped, parsed, and cleaned by Francesca Jensenius. A full version of the election data 1961-2015 is part of the replication files for her article “Competing Inequalities?” (Government and Opposition, 2016).

Indian National & State Election Dataset (1977-2015, Rikhil Bhavnani) provides detailed candidate-level data for elections to the lower houses of India’s national and state legislatures, i.e., the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas. The data span 1977-2015, with each row representing a candidate that ran for office in that state-year.

IndiaSpend series on empowered female leaders at the local level (pradhans):

People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI)  is both a living journal and an archive. It aims to generate and host reporting on rural India that is current and contemporary, while also creating a database of already published stories, reports, videos and audios from as many sources as possible. All of PARI’s own content comes under the Creative Commons and the site is free to access, and anyone can contribute to PARI.

Public Affairs Index (2017): Data-driven platform that ranks 30 states of India from the lens of governance, looking specifically at indicators such as inequality, economic freedom, transparency, and delivery of justice.

Rural Economic and Demographic Study (National Council of Applied Economic Research, Delhi, India) is based on household- and village-level surveys beginning in the late 1960s, designed by Andrew Foster and Mark Rosenzweig. These include village-level data on reservation status (with variation by revenue villages) and individual-level information on political participation and land ownership. A subset of respondents have been interviewed in over multiple rounds yielding a panel spanning 30 years. The raw data from the 1969, 1982 and 1999 waves are available on Andrew Foster’s web site.

Study of Elected Women Representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions (Ministry of Panchayati Raj)

The Wire India: Articles on Women in Politics

Thus Spoke the Press: Select Articles on Elected Women Leaders in India’s Local Village Councils (panchayats)

Video Volunteers’Gender” initiative, beginning with “Khel Badal,” a campaign launched in 2016 to dismantle patriarchy, motivated by the belief that every woman should have the tools to question the inequality and restrictions they experience.  The website provides reporting as well as resources for launching campaigns and recording videos. This occurs within the platform provided by Video Volunteers, which empowers marginalised people across India to tell their stories and create change campaigns, so that their issues come out from under the rug and become important threads in India’s development narrative. Video Volunteers believes the world would be a better place if the voices of thousands joined together to amplify every single cry for justice.

United States

Center For American Women and Politics (Rutgers State University of New Jersey) in particular, the CAWP Women Elected Officials Database represents the most complete collection of information anywhere in the world about female elected officials in the US. The database includes full historical listings for women who have held office at the congressional, statewide elected executive, and state legislative levels nationwide. For each woman officeholder, the database includes their geographic information, party identification, and race identification where available. It contains entries for more than eleven thousand women officeholders dating back to 1893 when women first served in territorial legislatures. The Women’s Political Power Map includes resources for women interested in running for office, working on political campaigns, or holding appointive office.

Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession” (American Political Science Association) provides up-to-date data and research on gender bias in scholarship, wage disparities, and on women in professional life more generally.

Presidential Primary Tracker” (Women on the Ballot Initiative, Women & Politics Institute, American University and  Barbara Lee Family Foundation) Provides gender analysis after each US presidential primary or caucus. See also the Women & Politics Institute “WeLead Campaign Training Program” a nonpartisan program that positions young professional women to run for office or lead a political campaign.

Global Databases on Gender, Development, & Institutions

Aid Data: AidData is a research lab at William & Mary. Their work equips policymakers and practitioners with better evidence to improve how sustainable development investments are targeted, monitored, and evaluated. They use rigorous methods, cutting-edge tools, and granular data to answer the question: who is doing what, where, for whom, and to what effect?

Care Talk” is a blog managed and primarily written by Nancy Folbre, which aims to engage researchers, students, journalists, and others interested in the “care sector”–an important portion of the economy devoted to the direct care of others through the family, the community, the market, and the state. The provision of care entails both paid and unpaid work and is often motivated by genuine concern for the well-being of others. It also requires other resources, including money, organization, and technology. Care is costly to provide, and both individuals and groups often try to find ways to offload its costs onto others. Analysis of distributional conflict is key to understanding problems of care provision. This blog follows Folbre’s research in analyzing three problems: 1) failure to adequately measure the important economic contributions made by families and communities, 2) the shortcomings of the standard “business model” based on profit maximization and consumer choice as a means of delivering effective care services through the market, and 3) poor institutional design in the US public sector, which often fails to deliver equitable, efficient, or politically sustainable systems of care provision.

Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP): A cross-disciplinary network of 155 researchers and practitioners from across the globe, united by a focus on experimental research, dedicated to generating and disseminating rigorous evidence on topics of governance, politics, and institutions.

Global Database on Violence Against Women (UN Women) was developed and launched in 2009 as the “UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women”. UN Women updated and redesigned the database and relaunched it as the “Global Database on Violence against Women” in 2016. The primary sources of information for the database are responses received from Governments to a questionnaire on violence against women sent to all countries in September 2008, supplemented with subsequent updates and other official information provided by Governments. It consolidates information on government measures to address violence against women, including institutional mechanisms, research and statistical data, laws, policies, budgets, services, prevention, perpetrators programmes, regional and international initiatives, and monitoring and evaluation efforts.

Global Gender Gap Report (World Economic Forum): First introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, the index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, education, health and political criteria for 153 countries, and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups.

Justice for Women Amidst Covid-19 (May 2020, UN Women) is a rapid assessment that examines the impacts of COVID-19, policy responses and outlines policy recommendations for the period ahead. Using a gender lens, the report documents major threats to women’s lives and livelihoods associated with COVID-19 – namely, curtailed access to justice institu-tions, rising intimate partner violence (IPV), threats to women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, growing injustice for workers, discriminatory laws and lack of legal identity, and repercussions on forcibly displaced women and those deprived of liberty.

Millenium Development Goals Gender Chart 2015 (UN Statistics Division, UN Women)

OECD Gender, Institutions and Development Database (2014): Based on data derived from the OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA): Collaboration between member states to develop, share and enable the use of comparative knowledge in areas such as: electoral processes, constitution-building, political participation and representation, and democracy and development.

Transparency & Accountability Initiative: TAI is a donor collaborative working toward a world where citizens are informed and empowered; governments are open and responsive; and collective action advances the public good.

World Bank’s Gender Data Portal: World Bank Group’s comprehensive source for the latest sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics covering demography, education, health, access to economic opportunities, public life and decision-making, and agency.

World Survey on the Role of Women in Development (2019, 2014, 2009, 2004, UN Women)

Global Databases on Women’s Property Rights (biased toward India)

Gender and Land Rights Database (Food and Agricultural Organization) was launched by the FAO in 2010 to highlight the major political, legal and cultural factors that influence the realization of women’s land rights throughout the world. It also serves as a platform to address, discuss and provide information about gender and land issues with the support of 84 Country Profiles, Land Tenure Statistics disaggregated by gender, and a Legal Assessment Tool for gender-equitable land tenure (LAT).

Girls Count: A national coalition of over 400 civil organizations across India which aims to influence policy, amplify advocacy and establish accountability through dialogue, capacity development, support for community action, and evidence generation to enhance the value of women and girls in India.

Landesa’s “Field Focus” Blog on Land Rights 

#PropertyForHer: Social Media Campaign to Raise Awareness about Women’s Property Rights across India. Related Thompson Reuters article here.

UN Women Policy Brief: Realizing Women’s Right to Land and Other Productive Assets

USAID Issue Brief: Land Tenure, Property Rights & Gender

World Bank Blog on Women’s Land Rights