We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Increasing women’s voice and participation in politics has clear positive impacts on the quality of governance, transparency and accountability.
This is one of the conclusions of a JRC study analysing women's disadvantage and achievements in different EU regions, published at the occasion of International Women's Day on 8 March 2019.
In the occasion of the International Women's Day, the JRC and DG REGIO of the European Commission launch a Regional Gender Equality Monitor, which assesses the level of disadvantage and achievements of women in the different regions across Europe.
The Monitor is based on two indexes. The Female Disadvantage Index measures the difference between the performance of men and women in all EU regions.
The Female Achievement Index measures the level of achievement women in a region compared to the region with best performing women.
The monitor builds on over 30 individual indicators which capture female disadvantage and achievements in the world of work and money, knowledge, free time, power, health, safety and security, as well as quality of life.
The study confirms that while women are under-represented in politics across Europe, higher female representation increases the quality of governance.
"Our study shows that women are significantly under-represented in decision-making positions across Europe. But our analysis also shows that gender equality in politics does matter.
There is evidence that governments that have a higher female representation are more impartial, more efficient and less corrupt", says JRC researcher Eleni Papadimitriou.
The monitor indicates that the link between the quality of governance and female achievements is strong. The regions with high quality of government have more women with high achievements, and more women in power.
Female participation in governance in these regions helps to boost innovation, growth and quality of life.
The political positions in less developed regions are predominantly held by men. This means that female experiences are less likely to be considered when designing public policies.
"There is a need to further increase the number of women in politics, especially in regions where there are hardly any women in political positions.
Reducing the disadvantages that women face will help everyone. It will increase what women can achieve, boost development and income, improve the quality of government and enhance life satisfaction", comments Eleni.
The disparities in the share of women in politics can only be fixed by political actors and voters. Making more space for women starts at the level of local and regional governments.
And it starts with you! Check out the dates for the next elections in your regions and do not forget to vote in the European Parliament elections in May!