Nearly a quarter of all lawmakers serving in national parliaments worldwide are women, after more progress towards gender parity was made in 2018, the International Parliamentary Union said Tuesday.

The IPU, which was founded in 1889 and is one of the world’s oldest international organisations, has for decades tracked the number of women elected to national legislative bodies.

In 1995, just 11.3 percent of the world’s parliamentarians were female, a figure that rose 18.3 percent in 2008 and hit 24.3 percent last year, according to data in the latest IPU report.

The increase in 2018 compared to 2017 figures was however just a modest one percent.

The IPU, a grouping of 178 legislative chambers that seeks to improve representative democracy worldwide, urged nations to redouble efforts towards gender parity by using tactics including carefully designed quotas.

The so-called “30 percent rule” that set out the minimum allowable level of female representation in a given parliament proved to be an effective first step when introduced in parts of Latin America last century and those quotas are now being revised upwards, the IPU said.

Political parties insisting on parity in terms of the candidates they field has also proven successful, the organisation said.

The latest IPU report incorporated data from 50 countries that held elections last year.

The report highlighted “historic” results from November elections in the United States.

“Both the lower (23.5 per cent) and upper houses (25 per cent) included more women than ever before,” the IPU said in a statement.

The Americas and Europe continued to lead the way in female representation in parliament, with the Middle East and North Africa lagging at the bottom among regions.