Tuesday 24 November 2009

Gender balance in the European Union: Tiny steps

After the final nominations for the European Commission are in (see EurActiv), it is clear that the new Commission will be exactly 1/3 female.

That is far from balanced, but closer to balanced than last time. Important to notice is that the goal of the campaign for "Gender Balanced Commission" has been reached, altough it's just the minimum goal. We are glad this is the case, and we are now looking whether all woman will pass the European Parliament hearings.

It's also important to remind that the two important demands I and others have formulated over the last months - at least one woman in one of the three EU top posts and at at least 1/3 of the Commission posts filled with women - are only met because Cathy Ashton counts twice, once as a top post holder and second as future Commission vice president (if she is confirmed by the European Parliament).

So we are advancing in tiny steps - if we continue at this speed (each time one female Commissioner more) the Commission will be gender-balanced in 20-25 years (depending on enlargement).

And we shouldn't also forget that Ashton got one of the 3 top posts, but that all the other major posts of the Union are filled with men:
  • Commission President,
  • European Council President,
  • European Parliament President,
  • Rotating Council President,
  • General Secretary of the Council,
  • European Central Bank President,
  • President of the European Court of Justice,
  • European Court of Auditors President,
  • European Economic and Social Committee President,
  • Committee of the Regions President,
  • Eurogroup Chairman,
  • EU Ombudsman,
  • European Data Protection Supervisor,
  • Fundamental Rights Agency Director,
  • ...
So if anyone in the EU continues talking about gender balance in the member states - an important topic to talk about - he or she should first care most intensively about the Unions institution, because on third of the Commission and one top post among so many others filled with a woman cannot be satisfactory at all!


Eurosocialiste said...

I think next step for the gender balanced commission campaign should be to push forward female alternatives when it becomes clear during the EP hearings that some of the male nominees are crap (e.g. Oettinger)!

Julien Frisch said...

We'll have to wait how Barroso hands out the portfolios. Then we can look for better candidates in that particular policy area.