Women and men in political decision-making
Women are still significantly under-represented in decision-making positions in all fields. On average across the EU, women account for 33% of members of national parliaments. This means that still two thirds of members of Parliament are men and progress is slow and uneven. Women represent 32% of senior ministers in Member State governments and only 26% of leaders of major political parties.
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Women and men in economic decision-making
Women’s progress in corporate leadership has gradually increased but the top jobs are still largely occupied by men. Around 30% of board members of the EU’s largest publicly listed companies are women. Women still only hold less than 1 in 10 board chair and chief executive officer positions (respectively 8.5% and 7.8% in October 2021). The most significant improvement is observed in countries that have taken legislative measures to increase gender balance on boards.
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What could be done to achieve gender balance?
The under-representation of women in decision-making is a very broad and multifaceted issue. It needs to be placed in the context of a number of policy efforts aimed at improving gender equality. This includes policies to increase the employment rate of women, to reduce the gender pay gap, to tackle gender segregation in education and employment and to tackle non-transparent nomination and promotion schemes still prevalent in political and corporate cultures.
Moreover, it is necessary to promote family-friendly policies, to support a more equal distribution of caring and domestic responsibilities, to improve the work-life balance for both women and men and to overcome gender stereotypes. Measures should be implemented to eliminate individual, organisational and social obstacles to women’s representation in leadership positions.
Men occupy the vast majority of leadership positions. They are the ‘gatekeepers’ to the positions of power. Engagement of male senior leaders is one of the driving forces for change. This applies both in politics and in the corporate world.