Women have made significant movements in their fight for equality. Even with great strides, women are still underrepresented in government leadership positions. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, women only hold about 20% of the world’s political power.

Comparing 2018 to 2017, there has not been much progress in women holding the highest offices of the countries. As of right now there are 20 women who represent the Head of State or Head of Government.

With women comprising half of the population, why are they still underrepresented?

Although there is not one single reason to why women don’t run for political positions, one of the most influential working theories is due to social barriers.

One barrier established by society is the “glass ceiling.” Merriam Webster defines the glass ceiling as a barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining higher level positions. The glass ceiling has a direct effect on women who are involved in politics. Members of parliament stem from high-level backgrounds holding CEO or senior executive positions in business or leadership. Due to discriminatory practices, women often do not hold these positions, which in turns makes it harder to be recruited in the political world.

Even when women do become political leaders, the media concentrates more on personal lives than their positions on policy. The media focuses on a political women’s domestic life, their looks, and even emotions. Sexist media coverage can be incredibly discouraging to not only women involved in politics but to any women who may want to participate in politics.

From the local to the global level, women all over face multiple social barriers. In the attempt to decrease the marginalization of women from the political sphere, international legislature has been in place for women to be able to participate in politics more easily. Legislature such as, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Beijing Platform for Action helps to support women’s right to participate in aspects of public life and remove barriers preventing equality.

As more people in the world start to recognize these barriers and work towards change, the amount of women with political power will continue to rise.