Women in the European Parliament (infographics)

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, there are still fewer women than men 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 15.9%. The percentage of female members has gone up drastically since then. In February 2024 39.8% of MEPs were women.

In the upcoming European elections from 6 to 9 June voters will be able to decide how many women will serve as members of the European Parliament in the next five years.

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As far as the representation of women in the European Parliament goes, it is above the world average for national parliaments and also above the EU average for national parliaments.

Since January 2022, Parliament is being presided over by a woman: Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola. In the current ninth parliamentary term, six of the 14 vice-presidents are women, more than in the previous term when there were five.

Women in top EU jobs

In 2019, two EU institutions broke the glass ceiling and welcomed their first ever female president.

Ursula von der Leyen became President of the European Commission; a further 12 Commissioners were women and 14 were men.

In the same year Christine Lagarde became President of the European Central Bank, backed by the European Parliament, which has been calling for more women in high-level posts in economic and monetary affairs. In 2023 economic decision-making continued to be the the area where the EU scores the lowest in terms of gender equality and women’s representation.