The European Commission has a gender balance problem. The EU institutions’ leadership has a gender balance problem. And 2014 doesn’t seem to be the year where this will change.
Bruxelles2‘s research has shown that, so far, only 5 out 28 EU member states have female candidates lined up for the next College of Commissioners, and most of these still have (male) contestants.
In 2009, it took one of the first major EU social media campaigns – Gender Balanced Commission promoted by a core of the few EU Twitter and blogging activists that were out there at the time – to pressure Barroso to have at least 1/3 of Commissioners to be female.
With the enlargement to Croatia as the 28th country and the nomination of a male candidate, the figure has dropped below 1/3 again.
The effect this can have is obvious when you look at the gender balance within the European Commission: Although more than 50% of the Commission staff is female, the figure was also below 1/3 at the end of 2012 for senior and middle management.
And when you look at the leadership of major EU institutions and bodies, only two are permanently chaired by women at the moment:
- Commission: male
- Parliament: male
- Council: rotating
- European Council: male
- European Central Bank: male
- Court of Justice of the EU: male
- European Court of Auditors: male
Major EU bodies:
- European Investment Bank: male
- External Action Service: female
- European Ombudsman: female
- EU Anti-Fraud Office: male
I can’t wait for next European Parliament and European Commission to restart their publishing statements about the need for gender equality, without wasting much energy to clean up the EU-level first.