Aminata Tall, a politician and member of the Senegalese Democratic Party speaks to protesters in the streets of Dakar on July 23, 2011.

Aminata Tall, a politician and member of the Senegalese Democratic Party speaks to protesters in the streets of Dakar on July 23, 2011.

Twenty-five years ago, politics in America went through a historic shift. In 1992, a year after the testimony of Anita Hill in confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, concerns about the stronghold men had on U.S. Senate seats prompted action toward achieving fair, female representation.

A record four women were elected to the Senate that year, which would become known as The Year Of The Woman.

What’s happened since?

Today, 21 women are U.S. Senators and 84 women hold seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. But compared to other developed nations, the U.S. doesn’t hold a candle to the political parity found abroad. A 2015 Pew Research study says:

The U.S. ranks an unimpressive 33rd when it comes to women in the national legislature, among 49 “high-income” countries (defined as those with per-capita incomes above $12,615).

What do other countries get right when it comes to electing women and encouraging them to participate in the political process? And what lessons can the U.S. take away from its foreign neighbors that can help bridge the gender gap on Capitol Hill?


  • Aili Mari Tripp Professor of political science and gender and women's studies, The University of Wisconsin Madison; author, "Women and Power in Post-Conflict Africa" and "African Women's Movements: Transforming Political Landscapes"; @ailitripp
  • Odette Nyiramilimo Secretary General, The Liberal Party of Rwanda; former Senator, the first female senator in Rwanda
  • Swanee Hunt Chair and founder, The Institute for Inclusive Security; founding director, Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; U.S. ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997; author, "Rwanda Women Rising" and "This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace"; @SwaneeHunt
  • Mona Lena Krook Political science professor, Rutgers University; author, "Quotas for Women in Politics"; @mlkrook

Video: Senegalese Women Step Into Politics

PBS Newshour video from 2014 about women of Senegal entering politics at an unprecedented rate. A breakthrough law doubled the number of women in the country’s parliament, far surpassing the United States’ female representation in Congress.

Video Interview With Guest Aili Mari Tripp

Cambridge University press interview from April 2017 with guest Aili Mari Tripp about her book “Women and Power in Post-Conflict Africa”

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