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Women and men in decision-making highlights

Third quarter 2016

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

  • a quarterly update of data on political decision-making at European and national levels;
  • an update of data on regional level politics in case of elections; and
  • an annual update of data on central banks and European financial institutions; the judiciary; European administration; European social partner organisations; and media.

Data were collected between 02 June and 08 August 2016 and reflect changes since the last update in May 2016 for politics and July-August 2015 for other topics. Note that figures referring to the share of women or men at EU level are weighted averages based on an aggregate of all persons counted across each of the 28 Member States.

National parliaments

  • The share of women in the single/lower houses of national parliaments across the EU remains unchanged at 29%.
  • Following elections in Cyprus (22 May 2016) women now account for 19% of MPs (up by 6 pp). This is the highest figure recorded for Cyprus since data were first routinely collected in 2003.
  • Ms Ana María Pastor Julián was elected to lead the lower houseof parliament in Spain so that at the end of July 2016 women led only 12 of the 41 (29%) parliaments in the EU: 9 of the 28 lower/single houses and 3 of the 13 upper houses.

National governments

  • The proportion of women acting as senior ministers (cabinet members) in national governments across the EU remains at 27%; a figure that has hardly changed since 2013.
  • The share of women in the 15-member cabinet appointed in Ireland remains unchanged at 27% (4 women ministers). At the time of data collection, a new government had not yet been appointed in Cyprus.
  • Elsewhere, government reshuffles in the last quarter resulted in an increased representation of women in the cabinet in Bulgaria (by 5 pp to 47%), Croatia (by 1 pp to 14%), Latvia (by 7 pp to 21%), Lithuania (by 7 pp to 27%), Romania (by 3 pp to 32%), and the United Kingdom (by 4 pp to 36%) but decreases in Spain (by 6 pp to 25%), Italy (by 2 pp to 29%), Malta (by 1 pp to 6%), and Sweden (by 2 pp to 50%). Sweden is the only Member State with an equal representation of women and men at cabinet level.
  • Ms Theresa May became Prime Minister in the UnitedKingdom increasing the number of Member States led by women from 2 (Germany and Poland) to 3 (11%).


  • Regional elections were held in Italy (Trentino-Alto Adige) and Romania in June 2016. In Romania the proportion of women members in regional assemblies increasedby 1 pp to 16%. In Italy the share of women increased by 5 pp to 23% in the Trentino-Alto Adige region but was unchanged at 18% at national level. The combined results also had no impact on figures at EU level, where the proportions of women amongst members of regional assemblies and regional executives remain unchanged at 33% and 35% respectively.

Central banks and European financial institutions

  • Central banks in EU Member States are still mostly led by men, with Ms Chrystalla Georghadji in Cyprus being the only female governor. There has, however, been an improvement in the gender balance amongst deputy governors with the share of women rising by 3 pp over the last year to reach 23%, the highest figure recorded since data were first routinely collected in 2007.
  • On the other hand, the proportion of women amongst the members of the key decision-making bodies of national central banks fell by 1 pp to 20%.
  • The combined decision-making bodies of the European financial institutions (the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the European Investment Fund) now comprise 85% men and 15% women (August 2016). Whilst this still represents a significant imbalance, the current share of women is actually an all-time high and represents an improvement of 5 pp compared to the situation in July 2015. All three institutions have been led exclusively by men since 2003.


  • The share of women amongst judges of the supreme courts of EU Member States continues to increase and has reached an all-time high of 40% (up by 1 pp since August 2015). The EU figure masks considerable variation across countries with women accounting for less than 25% of judges in a quarter of the Member States but as many as 84% in Romania, 75% in Bulgaria, and 69% in Latvia.
  • The representation of women in courts organised at EU level (European Court of Justice, Civil Service Tribunal and the General Court) remains unchanged since 2014 with the judges of all three courts comprising 19% women 81% men. These courts are all presided by men.

Public administration

  • The proportion of women in top administrative positions within the European Commission reached an all-time high figure of 26% (up by 12 pp since July 2015) in the top level (Director General, Deputy Director General or equivalent) but has decreased by 4 pp to 30% in the second level (Director, Principal Advisor or equivalent).
  • Women account for 32% of members in the governing boards of European agencies (up by 2 pp since 2015). Of the 37 agencies with a governing board, 22 are chaired by men and 15 by women.
  • Supreme audit organisations in the 28 EU Member States are mostly led by men. Nevertheless, the number of women presidents has increased from 4 to 6 since 2015.

European Social partner organisations

  • The proportions of women in the key decision making-bodies of organisations engaged in European social dialogue reached 26% and 18% for those representing employees and employers respectively (both up by 2 pp since 2015).


  • Women account for 27% of presidents of the Public broadcasting organisations in the EU and 20% of CEOs (up by 8 pp and by 10 pp respectively, since 2015). The representation of women in their key decision-making bodies also increased by 4 pp to reach 35%.
  • The share of women in boards/councils of media regulatory authorities remains unchanged at 33% since 2014 while more are now led by women – they account for 34% of presidents (up by 8 pp).