Women in Politics

December 2, 2010

In Party Women, I wrote how women in China have more freedom than at any time in China’s history and pointed out how many held important political posts in China.

I was correct when I said how China has been criticized in the Western media for not having enough women in positions of political power at the national level.

However, what I didn’t know was how wrong China’s critics were.

According to the UN, China has a higher percentage of women in positions of power at the national level than all but one of the countries I researched for this post.

In the United States, women hold less than 17 percent of the seats in both houses of Congress.

In China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), women hold 21.3 percent of the seats. Since there are 2,909 NPC deputies, that means there are about 620 women in positions of power at the national level.

In the United States, that number is about 100.

In Japan, a democracy, only 11.3 percent of the 480 members in the House of Representatives and the 242 members in the House of Councilors are women, which is eighty-one.

In South Korea, another democracy, there are 299 seats in the National Assembly.  Only 15.6 percent or forty-six are women.

In Thailand, there are 62 women out of 474 seats—about 13 percent.

There is only one country in Asia that has a higher percentage and that is Singapore with 23.4 percent of the seats in its parliament held by women.  There are almost 20 women of eighty-four elected members.

When it comes to building a government of the people from scratch, it now makes sense why Singapore is China’s role model instead of the US or the other Asian democracies.

In fact, China has twice as many women holding important positions of power in China’s NPC as all of the other countries mentioned in this post. 


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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