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In U.K. Election, More Women Than Ever Won Seats in Parliament

June 9, 2017, 9:10 AM UTC

The U.K.’s general election on Thursday resulted in a hung Parliament, casting the country into a deeper state of uncertainty as it enters Brexit talks with the European Union. It’s unclear how Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party will govern now that it has lost it majority in the House of Commons.

But there was one sure take-away from the vote: more women than ever won seats in Parliament.

Brits elected more than 200 women to the House of Commons on Thursday night, easily surpassing the 191 women elected in the last contest in 2015. Over the course of the last Parliament, 196 women served as a result of the 2015 vote and subsequent by-elections.

The re-election of Amber Rudd, an MP who serves as Home Secretary, took Thursday night’s total over the top to 192.

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With women holding about 30% of the seats in the most recent House of Commons, the U.K. ranked 46th worldwide for female representation, trailing well behind other European nations like Iceland and Sweden whose legislative bodies are closer to gender parity, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The United States, by comparison, is ranked 101st in the world, with women holding 19% and 21% of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

Women now hold the key to the U.K.’s future in more ways than one. The most pressing question is whether Theresa May can stay on as leader of the Conservatives after effectively losing her political gamble. The BBC reported Conservative sources as saying that she has “no intention” of resigning early Friday. The most likely partner in forming a coalition government for the Conservatives is Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, led by Arlene Foster. Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Woods head the Scottish and Welsh Nationalist Parties, respectively, which may yet swing behind the Labour Party if it tries to build a “progressive” anti-Conservative coalition. However, while Foster, Sturgeon and Woods all call the shots within their parties, none is a member of parliament in Westminster, serving instead in their respective regional legislatures.