The Commission’s Strategy

The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025  presents policy objectives and actions to make significant progress by 2025 towards a gender-equal Europe. The goal is a Union where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are free to pursue their chosen path in life, have equal opportunities to thrive, and can equally participate in and lead our European society. One of its key objectives is achieving gender balance in decision-making.

The European Commission continues to encourage and support EU Member States and stakeholders in developing and implementing effective strategies to achieve balanced participation of women and men in decision-making. These actions include: 

  • raising awareness.
  • political dialogue.
  • mutual learning and exchange of good practices including through the Mutual Learning Programme in Gender Equality and the Platform of Diversity Charters.
  • funding projects to develop and support strategies and tools for positive change.
  • disseminate data and analysis of trends and good practice on women and men in decision-making positions in cooperation with the European Institute for Gender Equality.

The Commission will lead by example. It aims to reach gender balance of 50% at all levels of its management by the end of 2024. Supporting measures will include quantitative targets for female appointments and leadership development programmes. The Commission will also increase efforts towards reaching a larger share of female managers in EU agencies, and will ensure gender balanced representation among speakers and panellists in the conferences it organises. 

There is a chair on an elevation. A man in suit climbs up the stair to the chair. On the right, and much more in backlog, a woman climbs up the stairs, while a pot and a coffee machine is falling down. On the right floor, two crying kids look to mother


Legislation – Proposal on gender balance in company boards

The Commission tabled a proposal on gender balance in company boards in November 2012. It aims at improving transparency in the selection of board directors in the largest publicly listed companies.

It would guarantee that qualification and merit of candidates remain the key criteria for a job on the board. Companies can still define on their own which qualification is needed for a specific position. The proposal does not impose binding quota – neither does it apply to SMEs.

The Commission’s proposal for Gender balance in company boards is currently scrutinizing by the Council. The Parliament strongly supports legislative action in this area (see its resolution).

Usual day in the office. Everyone goes up the stairs, until at a certain point the women stop because there is an invisible barrier - the glass ceiling.


The  Commission monitors the situation on women and men in decision-making positions through its annual report on equality between women and men.