European Commission: Gender balance in decision-making positions

“Across the EU, women are still largely outnumbered by men in positions of responsibility in all fields. The reasons for the under-representation of women in power and decision-making are multifaceted and complex.

Particularly at the highest levels, women are still largely outnumbered by men in positions of responsibility in politics and business, as well as in other fields. In national parliaments, less than one in four members is a woman (with major differences across the EU). In the European Parliament, three in ten members are women (2009-2014).

The situation is worst in business with, on average, one out of ten women members of boards in Europe’s largest publicly quoted companies and only 3% of board chairpersons.

EU action 

Although ensuring gender balance in decision making positions is mainly the responsibility of individual EU countries, the European Commission has long recognised the need to promote gender balance in decision-making processes and positions and the European Commission is encouraging the process by various means.

The Women’s Charter adopted by the European Commission in March 2010 and the EU Strategy for Equality between Women (2010-2015) reaffirmed the European Commission’s commitment to working to increase the percentage of women in positions of responsibility.

Network to promote Women in Decision-making in Politics and the Economy 

The European Commission’s Network to promote Women in Decision-making in Politics and the Economy provides a platform at EU level for discussion of successful strategies and best practice to improve gender balance in decision-making positions. During its meetings, the Network discussed:

The network is composed of chairs of European network interested in the promotion of gender equality in decision-making position.”

The EPWS President, Dr. Brigitte M├╝hlenbruch, is a member of this network.

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