EWL News

A never-ending story: the composition of the European Commission again reveals its mainly male face

[Brussels, 22 October 2014] The proposed European Commission (EC) has just been approved by the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg. The current Commission consists of only nine women out of 28 which is no progress in comparison to the outgoing Barroso Commission.

“Before Jean-Claude Juncker was appointed president of the EC, he promised a modern and a female Commission. Unfortunately, this Commission is miles away from being a female Commission and is clearly not a mirror of European society, of which more than half of the population is female and much more diverse,” says Joanna Maycock, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL).
Since its establishment, the EWL has demanded parity in all EU institutions and asks Member States to nominate one female and one male candidate for the College of Commissioners. For the EWL, it is a question of justice and fairness, as advocated in its 5050 campaign with the title: “No modern Democracy without Gender Equality”

Juncker’s call for the Member States to nominate one female and one male candidate for the College of Commissioners went unheard even though all democratic political groups of the EP, including the president of the EP, were sending signals to the Member States that they would be unwilling to approve any EC which didn’t have more women within its ranks than the outgoing Commission. Deplorably, the obvious lack of equal representation of women and men was not any higher on the agenda during the hearings of the Commissioners. For the EWL, it is a shame to democracy that this overrepresentation of men is still acceptable for the European institutions and the EU Member States.

This is despite the fact that the European Commission reaffirmed its commitment to use all efforts to improve the gender balance within the European Commission by adopting the Women’s Charter in March 2010. Moreover, the Council of the European Union – in other words, the Member States – also reaffirmed their commitment to improve the gender balance within the European Commission by adopting the European Pact for Gender Equality in March 2011.

This promise was not kept and as a result, the EWL, representing the largest association of women’s rights organisations across Europe, will continue to advocate and to work for gender parity across all EU institutions to bring justice to more than half of the population – that is, to the majority of the population: to women.

Nevertheless, the EWL very much welcomes the appointment of Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality and welcomes that gender equality is explicitly acknowledged in Ms Jourová’s title, which the EWL believes to be a strong political statement.

“This is an essential step to guaranteeing more visibility regarding the active role of women and their right to be equal to men in a society based on democracy, social justice, human rights and dignity,” concludes EWL policy officer, Serap Altinisik.

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