Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Commission staff statistics: The gender gap

I just came across this lovely site with the Commission's staff statistics (via Dan Luca).

The blogger's instinct told to look into the sheets that separated gender and administrative grades, and it was immediately obvious that the institution heavily lobbying for gender equality has a massive gender gap in its upper ranks:

Only 2 out of 37 (5.4%) top administrative ranks (category AD16) in the European Commission are filled with females, and with 49 out of 235 (20.9%) for AD15 or 66 out of 431 (15.3%) for AD14 - these three ranks cover directors and directors-general - the next two ranks do not look very gender-balanced either.

I suppose somebody has some beautiful statistics how much better the situation has become over the last years, and I know that these upper ranks are filled with life-time officials which makes it hard to push for a rapid change, but what about credibility when it comes to the fight for gender equality, e.g. with regard to the new anti-discrimination directive, if the Commission cannot serve as a positive example?

And where are the Swedish Presidency and the European Parliament who should push the Commission on these issues?


kevin said...

Recently I talked to a gentleman who is a member of the local wing of Fine Gael(Irish political party)on a similar topic. The Irish government has a tiny proportion of elected femal members.

He said the problem of getting gender equality in government has nothing to do with a lack of interest from women or the public, but more to do with his collegues in the local party.

Most of his collegues are men of 50 years and over. According to the gentleman, this demographic makes it harder for women to even get nominated by the party to run for office. While the top brass are campaigning for gendar equality, the old gaurd are more likely to nominate eachother.

Local politics in Ireland appears to be in large a 'Boys Only' club and it will remain so unless more young people become active in local politics.

Julien Frisch said...

I agree with you, Kevin, it's basically the old men's cartel that hinders women from climbing up in the hierarchies, whether on the local, national, or European level.

Anonymous said...

Effecting cultural change is the only way this situation is going to get sorted out. Pushing to get more women appointed is only counter-productive: I know this from my own experience, having people telling me I have only got promoted because I'm female. And proposing legislative measures to support that cultural change, and financing activities is a valid activity. The Commission will be better than some and worse than others, but is nonetheless as much at the mercy of prevailing attitudes as any other organisation of its size. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be working to improve the situation