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In the 2005 General election, 126 women were elected to the House of Commons — an historic high. This is almost 20 percent of the total MPs, a figure which is still relatively low by standards elsewhere in Europe and well below the proportion of women in the population (50.9 percent in mid 2005).145 For example, women comprise 47.3 percent of the total MPs in Sweden, 36.7 percent in the Netherlands, and 42 percent in Finland.146 Whilst these countries have more proportional voting systems, other countries with PR do not share such high levels of representation of women, with Italy at 17.3 percent and Ireland at 13.3 percent. The position in devolved jurisdictions is better than the House of Commons. The proportion of women in the Scottish Parliament is 33 percent (43 women) and in Wales 47 percent (28 women). The Welsh Assembly was the first legislative body in the world to achieve parity between numbers of men and women elected in 2003 (50 percent). In 2006 following a by- election, there were two more female representatives than males, although the proportion of women dropped to 47 percent in 2007.

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