This working paper presents data and analysis on women’s representation in local government by UN Women as the sole custodian agency for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 5.5.1b. It provides a comprehensive overview of women’s political participation at the local level for the first time, helping to shift the global narrative from national to local decision-making power, a less known but critical level of governance.
Data available for 133 countries and areas indicate that women’s representation in deliberative bodies of local government is higher than in parliament, but still not on equal terms with men. The paper also analyses the use of legislated gender quotas and types of electoral systems in local elections as factors impacting women’s political participation.
Remaining data gaps on women’s political participation at local level, including data disaggregation issues, underused electoral data, and the need for new data collection tools to capture women’s full and effective participation in local government are also discussed.
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