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Telegraph / Life - Entertain

Mapped: The countries that have never been ruled by a woman

There are currently 26 countries or territories, out of more than 190, ruled by women – less than 15 per cent, but still the highest number in history. 

They include, of course, the United Kingdom (which not only has an incumbent female prime minister but a reigning Queen - one of only two in the world).

At a glance | Reigning queens

Europe has elected far more women in recent years than any other continent. Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania, Norway, Malta, Croatia, Estonia, Serbia, Iceland and Romania also have female leaders. Two countries in South America (Chile and Peru), one in Africa (Namibia) and a handful in Asia (Myanmar, Singapore, Bangladesh and Nepal) make the list. 

At a glance | The 27 places ruled by a woman

Many more countries have had a female leader in their history, including Brazil, Australia, India, Pakistan, Argentina and China. 

But the majority - more than 100 - have never elected or appointed a woman to the top job. They include Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, Egypt, Belgium, Russia and, of course, the US.

The best and worst countries for gender equality

Telegraph Travel previously highlighted a World Economic Forum report that ranked almost 150 countries according to gender equality. 

Enlightened Iceland was found to have a smaller gender gap than any other country - though, crucially, a gap still exists there - followed by Norway and Finland.

Iceland: beautiful landscapes and gender equality Credit:alessandromari89 - Fotolia

That these Scandinavian nations lead the way may not come as a big surprise, but the rest of the top 10 is likely to raise a few eyebrows, given that it features Rwanda and Nicaragua, but not the United Kingdom, which came 15th.

The 20 best countries for gender equality

  • Iceland 
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Rwanda 
  • Sweden
  • Nicaragua
  • Slovenia
  • Ireland 
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • France
  • Germany
  • Namibia
  • Denmark
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Bolivia
  • Bulgaria
  • South Africa
  • Latvia
  • At the other end of the table was war-torn Yemen, though it should be noted that data wasn’t available for all of the world’s countries.

    Yemen was followed by Pakistan and Syria as the least equal nations; Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving (until June 24, 2018, that is), was another of the 10 worst performers.

    The 10 worst countries for gender equality

  • Yemen
  • Pakistan 
  • Syria 
  • Chad
  • Iran 
  • Mali
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Jordan 
  • Countries where women outnumber men

    Finally, we've looked at those countries where women dominate. Literally. The tiny US territory of Northern Mariana Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, tops this list. For every female resident, there are just 0.74 males. 

    The 10 places with the highest percentage of females

  • Northern Mariana Islands - 0.74 males to every female
  • Estonia - 0.84
  • Ukraine - 0.85
  • Djibouti - 0.86
  • Latvia - 0.86
  • Russia - 0.86
  • Belarus - 0.87
  • Armenia - 0.89
  • Lithuania - 0.89
  • Antigua and Barbuda - 0.9
  • At the other end of the table is the United Arab Emirates. Remarkably there are 2.19 male residents for every female. 


    Several other Middle Eastern countries have far more men than women, including Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

    The 10 places with the lowest percentage of females

  • UAE - 2.19 males to every female
  • Qatar - 2
  • Kuwait - 1.54
  • Bahrain - 1.24
  • Oman - 1.22
  • Saudi Arabia - 1.18
  • Saint Barthelemy - 1.14
  • Palau - 1.14
  • Greenland - 1.12
  • Jordan - 1.1
  • Around the world | In maps