This chapter explores the number of women in executive and legislative offices in all the countries of the world, mapping the contours of gender inequality in political leadership. It discusses the literature on women and politics and examines competing explanations of women's persisting absence from national offices. The chapter describes the flaws in explanations that attribute the problem to women themselves while masking the operation of gender power. It examines specific instances when men in many different nations passed laws prohibiting women from attending public meetings, participating in political demonstrations, belonging to political parties or clubs, voting, and holding public office. The chapter also explores justifications advanced by key theorists of the American and French revolutions for excluding women from politics and governance. It considers how the politics of embodiment continues to play out in political parties, an example of a gendered institution that controls access to political office.