European & International News

Slow progress on parity in European governments

[European Commission, Brussels, 03 January 2011] An update of the European Commission’s database on women and men in decision-making has recently been completed and includes:

A quarterly update of data on political decision-making at European and national level (data were collected between mid-September and mid-October 2010 and reflect changes since the last update at the end of July).
An annual update of political decision-making at regional level (data collected in August 2010).
An annual update of information on key decision-makers in the following types of organisation: large companies, public administrations at national level, and social partners at European level (data collected between May and October).

In the political arena, selected developments in terms of the gender balance include:

  • Parliamentary elections were held in Sweden and in Latvia during September and October 2010 but with little impact on gender balance: in Sweden the share of women is still a healthy 46% but in Latvia women remain very much the under-represented gender (19%).
  • A number of government reshuffles took place around Europe during the late summer period. In Romania and Slovenia the cabinets gained one woman each in what are rather male-dominated governments with the share of women rising to 12% and 26% respectively. By contrast, the reshuffle in Greece saw a deterioration of the gender balance in the cabinet (17% women from 31%) though it improved amongst junior ministers (23% women from 15%).
  • At regional level there have been only minor changes over the last year: men still lead the vast majority of regional assemblies in the EU (86%) and account for more than two-thirds of all members (70%) whilst women lead less just one in seven assemblies (14%) and account for less than a third of members (30%). Executive power within regional authorities also remains the preserve of men but the proportion of women executives has at least reached double figures for the first time during this year, rising to 10% from 8%.

Selected developments in other areas include:

  • The European Social Partner organisations represent workers and their employers in social dialogue at EU level. The gender balance within the decision-making bodies of these organisations is markedly better in those representing workers, where there is one woman for every three men, than in those representing employers, where there are six men for every woman. The latest statistics show little change compared to 2009.
  • In many countries, achieving diversity and equality on the boards of the largest publicly listed companies is a distant target. Within the EU nearly 97% of board chairpersons and 88% of board members are male. The representation of women is rising but painfully slowly (around half a percentage point per year). If progress continues at this pace it will be at least another fifty years before corporate boardrooms have at least 40% of each gender.
  • Public administrations are responsible for implementing the policies developed by the government of each country. The distribution of decision-making power by gender within ministries is better than in many other areas with women currently occupying 35% of senior positions, a notable progression from 25% in 2003. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement, particularly at the very top level where women hold only 26% of positions.

Latest video

EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

Facebook Feed

Get Involved