European Commission nearing goal of 40% women in senior positions

EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

New head of Cabinet of the President of the European commission, Clara Martinez Alberola (L) and her deputy Polish Richard Szostak, attend as EU commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gives a press conference to announce major change in staffing of the European commission in Brussels, Belgium, 21 February 2018.

Wednesday’s appointments significantly boosted the number of women in the position of Directors-General and Deputy Directors-General.


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Clara Martinez Alberola became the first-ever female chief-of-staff when she was tapped to lead President Jean-Claude Juncker‘s cabinet on February 21, reinforcing Juncker’s stated goal of having more women in management positions at the Berlyamont.

The number of women occupying Director-General and Deputy Director-General seats is already up from 11% in 2014 – at the beginning of Juncker’s presidency – to the current 36%. Juncker has previously said he wants to have at least 40% of the top roles in the Commission occupied by women by October 31, 2019.

“We now need experienced, energetic and strongly motivated sailors to help steer our ship in the right direction. I have insisted on the need to have more women in leading positions in our institution,” said Juncker.

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger said he will continue to put an emphasis on achieving Juncker’s target, “By appointing the best people to the right positions. We are determined to use the current window of opportunity and deliver on our political agenda. We are building on the experience of our senior managers, making sure they continue to serve the interest of this institution,” said Oettinger.

Several changes were made Wednesday within President Juncker’s Commission:

  • Five new Director-Generals, including two women, Cyrpus’ Themis Christophidou and Bulgaria’s Mariana Kotzeva, were added to Juncker’s cabinet this week, along with five new Deputy Director-Generals, of which four are women: Luxembourg’s Viviane Hoffmann, Andriana Sukova-Tosheva of Bulgaria, Estonia’s Signe Ratso and French national Céline GauerSukova-Tosheva‘s position as Director-General for DG Human Resources and Security was extended beyond her retirement.
  • Henriette Geiger of Germany was appointed as one of two Directors in DG International Cooperation and Development.

The Commission released a report in 2017 with key findings on equality issues between men and women. Progress in the EU Member States remained unequal and only four countries – Italy, France, Finland and Sweden – have 30% of women on the boards of large companies,

The report indicated that the situation remains the same in politics as the parliaments of Sweden and Finland have 40% women as sitting lawmakers, while southern European countries such as Cyprus and former Eastern Bloc nation that include Romania and Bulgaria have less than 20% women in parliament.

Greece and Hungary currently have no women in senior government positions.

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