Middle East

Global gender gap in politics wide, women legislators say

  • Female parliamentarians receive awards at the Women in Parliament Global Forum annual meeting in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The forum was for the first time being held in the Middle East and North Africa and brought together 260 lawmakers from more than 60 countries for the two-day event. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)

    Female parliamentarians receive awards at the Women in Parliament Global Forum annual meeting in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The forum was for the first time being held in the Middle East and North Africa and brought together 260 lawmakers from more than 60 countries for the two-day event. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) deputy secretary general, Mari Kiviniemi, sits for an interview on the sidelines of the Women in Parliament Global Forum annual meeting in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The forum was for the first time being held in the Middle East and North Africa and brought together 260 lawmakers from more than 60 countries for the two-day event. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) deputy secretary general, Mari Kiviniemi, sits for an interview on the sidelines of the Women in Parliament Global Forum annual meeting in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The forum was for the first time being held in the Middle East and North Africa and brought together 260 lawmakers from more than 60 countries for the two-day event. (Sam McNeil/AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Some 260 women lawmakers from more than 60 countries have come together to find ways to close a global gender gap in politics more quickly.

The founder of the "Women in Parliaments" network, former European legislator Silvana Koch-Mehrin, told the conference Wednesday that the gap remains wide. She says 80 percent of parliamentarians and 95 percent of heads of state in the world are men.

Participants say encouraging more women to get into local politics, pushing legislation to stamp out discrimination and setting quotas in parliaments help accelerate change.

They say studies show equality between men and women produces significant economic growth.

The conference in Jordan marked the first meeting of the parliamentarians in the Middle East, which scores lower than other regions on most aspects of gender equality.