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Gender balance in decision-making © European Union

Across the EU, women are underrepresented 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 leadership positions in politics and business, as well as in other fields. In the European Parliament, three in ten members are women (2009-2014).

The situation is worst in business with, on average, one in six women members of boards in Europe's largest publicly quoted companies and only 5% of board chairpersons.

Women on Boards: Commission proposes 40% objective

On 14 November 2012 the European Commission proposed legislation with the aim of attaining a 40% objective of the under-represented sex in non-executive board-member positions in publicly listed companies, with the exception of small and medium enterprises. The aim of this new legislation is to accelerate progress towards a better gender balance on the corporate boards of European companies.

Further information and Press Pack Choose translations of the previous link 

EU action

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 български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv) adopted by the European Commission in March 2010 and the EU Strategy for Equality between Women (2010-2015) Choose translations of the previous link  reaffirmed the European Commission's commitment to working to increase the percentage of women in positions of responsibility.

The Gender Balance in Business Leadership

The Commission Staff Working Document "The Gender Balance in Business Leadership" addresses the under-representation of women in management positions in companies.

On 1 March 2011, Vice-President Reding encouraged publicly listed companies to sign the "Women on the Board Pledge for Europe Choose translations of the previous link " and to develop self-regulatory initiatives to get more women into top jobs, with a view of reaching the target of 30% of women on boardrooms of listed companies by 2015 and 40% by 2020.

On 5 March 2012, Vice President Reding presented a Progress report on women in economic decision-making in the EUpdf(394 kB) Choose translations of the previous link .  In parallel, the Commission launched a public consultation Choose translations of the previous link  that has contributed to assessing the impact of possible EU measures, including legislative ones, to redress the situation.

The database on women and men in decision-making

The European Commission is taking stock and monitoring the progress achieved, in particular by collecting and disseminating comparable data at EU level through its database on women and men in decision-making Choose translations of the previous link  and regular reporting Choose translations of the previous link .

Network to promote Women in Decision-making in Politics and the Economy: 2008-2012

The European Commission's Network to promote Women in Decision-making in Politics and the Economy provided 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 was composed of chairs of European network interested in the promotion of gender equality in decision-making positions.

Please find here all the documents related to the gender balance in decision-making Choose translations of the previous link .