Islamic Finance

UPDATE-Lonely at the top: 29 women ministers in 10 key Islamic economies

| 07 March, 2017 | General
 Emmy Abdul Alim
UPDATE-Lonely at the top: 29 women ministers in 10 key Islamic economies

*Update inserts two bar charts

How many women ministers are there in your government working alongside men to shape national policies that impact your life?

Women made up 23.3 percent of national parliaments at the end of 2016, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the international organisation of parliaments. Lower Houses are 23.4 percent women, which is slightly higher than the 22.9 percent for Upper Houses. 

We examine the situation in 10 key Islamic economies: (in alphabetical order) Bahrain, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and UAE.

In this group of 10, there are 29 women ministers currently in office, equivalent to 10.5 percent of their total cabinets. This is 12 percent below the global average for Upper Houses.

There are no women ministers in Saudi Arabia and the highest number is nine, in Indonesia.


By percentage, the UAE's 26.7 percent is the highest.

The 10 include the six wealthy Gulf states, Southeast Asia's largest economy and the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, the second largest Muslim-majority country in the world, the only Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) country that is a member of the OECD, and Malaysia, which is the world's leading Islamic economy according to Thomson Reuters' Global Islamic Economy Index. 

Their total population is just under 600 million and women make up around 42 percent.

By systems of government, the six Gulf states do not have popular elections that determine the executive authority. The remaining four countries are parliamentary democracies.

Addressing the need for more participation by women in government, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said last month at the World Government Summit, "We believe that no community can function without women’s involvement. Soon, women will occupy 50 percent of the [UAE] cabinet portfolios."  


Gender Equality Score: 0.615 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 131


1. Faeqa bint Saeed Al-Saleh, Minister of Health


Chart Indonesia cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.682 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 88 (highest ranking of the 10 countries)
1. Puan Maharani, Coordinating Min for Human Development & Culture
2. Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Min of Environment & Forestry
3. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Min of Finance
4. Retno Lestari Priansari, Min of Foreign Affairs
5. Nila F. Moeloek, Min of Health
6. Susi Pudjiastuti, Min of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries
7. Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Min of Social Affairs
8. Rini Soemarno, Min of State-Owned Enterprises
9. Yohana Susana Yembise, Min of Women's Empowerment & Child Protection


Chart Kuwait cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.624 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 128


1. Hind Subaih Barrak Al-Subaih, Min of Social Affairs and Labour, and Min of State for Economic Affairs


Chart Malaysia cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.666 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 106
1. Hajjah Rohani binti Abdul Karim, Min of Women, Family and Community Development
2. Hajjah Nancy binti Shukri, Min in the Prime Minister's Department
3. Azalina binti Dato' Othman Said, Min in the Prime Minister's Department


Chart Oman cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.612 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 133
1. Dr. Rawiah bint Saud al-Busaidiyah, Min of Higher Education
2. Dr. Madeeha bint Ahmed bin Nasr al-Shaibaniyah, Min of Education


Chart Pakistan cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.556 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 143 (2nd lowest globally, 1 above Yemen)
1. Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan, Min of State, Information Technology and Telecommunication
2. Marriyum Aurangzeb, Min of State, Information,Broadcasting and National Heritage
3. Saira Afzal Tarar, Min of State, National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination


Chart Qatar cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.643 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 119


1. Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Min of Public Health


Chart Saudi Arabia cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.583 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 141

No women ministers


Chart Turkey cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.623 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 130


1. Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Min of Family & Social Policies


Chart UAE cabinet by gender
Gender Equality Score: 0.639 (where 1 = equal)
Global rank: 124
1. Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Min of State for Tolerance
2. Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Min of State for International Cooperation
3. Najla bint Mohammed Al Awar, Min of Community Development
4. Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi, Min of State for Public Education
5. Dr. Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Min of State
6. Ohood bint Khalifa Al Roumi, Min of State for Happiness
7. Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Min of State for Federal National Council Affairs
8. Shamma bint Sohail Faris Al Mazrui, Min of State for Youth Affairs

Note: Heads of states are included in the cabinet number, e.g. Sultan Qaboos for Oman

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