Overcoming Gender Inequality in Business and Politics: CoR Calls on Political Parties to Actively Empower Women
A week ahead of International Women's Day, the European Committee of the Regions and its Join Committee for Equal Opportunities (COPEC) today organised a lunchtime debate and networking event to discuss the issue of "Gender equality in politics, management and boards in Europe".
Participants, including politicians from European and local levels, representatives from the business sector and academic experts, shared inspiring stories of best practices to break the glass ceiling. They called for intensifying pressure on governments and corporations to further tackle gender imbalance.
Despite a general increase in the number of women in decision-making positions in Europe, power still lies firmly in the hands of men, whether in politics or business; public or private sphere. On the European level, only 37% of MEPs are women and 70% of the European Commissioners are male. The situation is much the same in the business sector where 96.5 % of European CEOs today are male - with no significant increase since 2010. Whilst the situation differs from region to region, participants were united in their conclusion that the situation must change and that gender quotas can only be part of the solution.
Opening the debate, CoR President Markku Markkula, insisted: ''We need more women to take higher positions and responsibilities in both public and private decision-making'' before stressing "Women represent up to 60% of higher-education graduates in our society, we need to work towards gender balance and actively empower women. Let's take advantage of highly skilled qualified women and talent to create sustainable economically growing Europe.” He called on political parties, from the local level up, to actively promote more women in political life.
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