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Women and men in decision-making highlights

First quarter 2016

The latest update of the European Commission's database on women and men in decision-making was completed in March 2016 and includes;

  • a quarterly update of data on political decision-making at European and national levels; and
  • an update of data on regional level politics in case of elections.

Data were collected between 15 February and 3 March 2016 and reflect changes since the last update in December 2015.

National parliaments

  • The share of women in the single/lower houses of national parliaments across the EU has fallen by 1 percentage point (pp) to 28% following elections in Croatia (8 November 2015) and Spain (20 December 2015). Women now account for 15% of MPs in Croatia (down by 10 pp), and 39% in Spain (down by 4 pp).
  • In Spain there were also elections for the upper house of parliament, which saw the share of women members rise to 39% from 36%. This improvement resulted in a slight increase in the EU level figure (27%, up by 1 pp).

National governments

  • Women account for 27% of senior ministers (cabinet members) in national governments across the EU. Although down slightly on the previous quarter, this figure has remained within the narrow band of 26%-28% since 2012.
  • The new government appointed in Croatia following elections resulted in the share of women in the cabinet being unchanged at 14%. At the time of data collection a new government had not yet been appointed in Spain.
  • Elsewhere, government reshuffles in the last quarter resulted in increased representation of women in the cabinet in Bulgaria (up 7 pp to 42%), and France (up 1 pp to 49%) but decreases in Italy (by 3 pp to 35%), Latvia (by 15 pp to 14%), Luxembourg (by 7 pp to 20%) and Romania (by 3 pp to 32%).


  • At EU level, the proportion of women remains unchanged in regional executives at 35% but has declined slightly in regional assemblies where they now account for 32% of members (down by 1 pp). Women lead 21% of regional assemblies and 11% of regional executives (both up by 1 pp).
  • These changes follow regional elections in France on 6 and 13 December 2015, the first since to implement the territorial reform agreed in 2014, which reduced the number of regions from 22 to 13 (plus 5 overseas departments). The resulting gender balance in regional assemblies remainsclose to parity, with 48% women (down 1 pp) and 52% men (up 1 pp). Women were selected to lead 3 of the 13 new assemblies, which represents 17% of all assembly leaders (taking into account also the overseas departments), an increase of 4 pp. Only one French region, Corsica, has a dedicated executive body and the proportion of women remains unchanged at 44%.

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