A record number of women took seats in parliamentary renewals in 2008 and one out of five parliamentarians elected was woman, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Information released at the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians session held here Sunday during the IPU's 120th Assembly shows a total of 12,879 seats were up for renewal in 66 chambers of 54 countries. Women took 2,656, or 20.6 percent, of those seats, the highest annual renewal on record.
The world average of women members across all chambers of parliament also reached an all-time high of 18.3 percent, indicated a handout from the IPU.
It said 15 percent of parliamentary chambers have reached 30 percent or more women members. Forty percent of these chambers are found in Europe, one third in Africa and 23 percent in Latin America.
In Africa, Rwanda's parliament made history when its lower house elected a majority 56.3 percent of women members. In Angola women took 37 percent of the seats in its first post-conflict election.
Some impressive gains were made overall in Latin America, where women took 26.5 percent of seats in the 12 chambers that were renewed.
Meanwhile, the Pacific island states remain the worst-performing region in terms of women's election to parliament. No women candidates were successful in the single or lower house races in Nauru, Palau and Tonga, according to the IPU.
The 120th IPU Assembly and its related meetings will be held at the Conference Centre of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from Sunday to Friday.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday in the Millennium Hall situated near the Bole International Airport.