Bureaucracy has traditionally been a male preserve, and while women are slowly inching their way into government positions, the number of women at senior decision-making levels remains pathetically low. But numbers, though powerful indicators, are not an absolute barometer of inequality. Discrimination against women can end only when there is a sea of change in attitudes, when women's inferior status at all levels of society—economic, social and political—is recognized as a travesty and not the norm.
 
Women at top levels of government worldwide by sectors
 
 
Women make up only 7% of ministerial positions, globally. Even within this small percentage, they remain heavily concentrated in the areas of social affairs, including education, health and family. The total number of women ministers worldwide in the social category is 14%, whereas the total for political ministerial positions in only 3%, and for executive posts, 4%. Within the economic category, women hold 4% of ministerial positions. They fare slightly better in the areas of law and justice, with 10% of posts.

Source: Derived from data provided by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, based on January 1996 information from World Wide Government Directory, Inc.

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