Women should play a prominent role in politics, but how do they fare at the European Parliament? Find out in our infographics.
While the European Parliament stands for gender equality, women continue to be under-represented in politics and public life at local, national and European level, as shown by recent data.
Over the years, the percentage of female MEPs has increased. Only 31 women were members from 1952 until the first elections in 1979. In the first directly-elected European Parliament representation of women stood at 15.2%. The percentage of female members has gone up with each election. Currently, it is the highest it has ever been with 40.4% of MEPs now being women.
The number of women in high-level posts in the European Parliament is also increasing. In the current ninth parliamentary term, eight of the 14 vice-presidents are women, as are 12 of the 22 committee chairs. That is up from the previous term when we had five vice-presidents and eleven female chairs in a total of 23 committees.
Women in top EU jobs
For the first time, the president of the European Commission will be a woman. Ursula von der Leyen declared ahead of her election in Parliament that she wanted a gender-balanced College of Commissioners and lived up to her promise. On 9 September, she presented 12 women and 14 men as commission nominees.
Economic decision-making continues to be the area where the EU scores the lowest in terms of gender equality and women’s representation. Men continue to dominate central banks and finance ministries. Parliament has been calling for more women in high-level posts in economic and monetary affairs. For the first time ever a women could lead the European Central Bank, with Christine Lagarde nominated for the job.