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Women make up more than half of the population and electorate in the EU yet continue to be under-represented in all economic and political decision-making bodies at all levels. The average representation of women in European parliaments is 24% and in national governments 23%. The number of women presidents of Europe’s largest companies has fallen from 4% to 3% since 2004.

 

The equal representation of women and men in decision-making

Posted on 11 February 2010

For the EWL, this under-representation of women constitutes a serious democratic deficit, which undermines the legitimacy of the contemporary democratic ideal. Parity democracy and the promotion of women in decision-making positions are therefore important areas of action for EWL. Parity democracy implies the equal representation of women and men in decision-making positions. It goes a step further than quotas as it is based on the idea that women are not a minority: they represent more than half of humanity – a quantitative dimension – and one of its components – a qualitative dimension.

In view of the 2009 European elections, the EWL conducted a very successful European-wide cross-party 50/50 Campaign, which aimed at putting pressure on political parties and decisions makers to make sure that women were equally represented in the new European Parliament and Commission 2009-2014 as well as in all European top political posts.

The European Women’s Lobby continues to work with its members to highlight this issue whenever relevant and is asking the European Commission, Parliament and national decision-makers to introduce binding measures for parity in the private sector, the EU institutions and at national level, especially given that such measures already exist in a number of Member States.

For a comprehensive overview of the current situation in terms of women in decision-making in the EU, and the most recent European policies in this area, see the chapter in the EWL’s Beijing+15 Report on Women in Power and Decision Making.

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