Studies from various countries show that institutions / enterprises with a better balance of gender at top levels can deliver stronger organisational or financial performance. The existence of a business case is increasingly recognised and it has also been recently supported by the McKinsey study “Women Matter” (2012); the Lord Davies of Abresoch report “Women on Boards: one year on” (2012); and by Ernst & Young, Deutsche Bank research “Groundbreakers, using the Strength of Women to Rebuild the World Economy”.
To provide statistics that can be used to monitor the current situation and trends through time the European Commission has established a database monitoring the numbers of men and women in key decision-making positions.
The database covers positions of power and influence in politics, public administration, the judiciary, and various other key areas of the economy. Data on political decision-making at European and national level are updated quarterly, whilst all other data are updated annually, though updates to political data at regional level are included in quarterly updates in the case of elections.
The gender-based figures are available for decision-makers at European, national and regional level (politics only) and currently cover 34 countries – the 27 EU Member States, one acceding country (Croatia), three candidate countries (Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey), one of the potential candidate countries (Serbia) and the remaining EEA countries (Liechtenstein and Norway).
Data are organised by domains: politics; public administration; judiciary; business and finance; social partners and NGOs. From each domain page, tables of data on specific topics can be accessed from a drop-down list. Data pages show the latest available information for each topic and include brief information on the organisations and positions covered. For each topic a spreadsheet including the latest data and all existing historical data is available.
For example, the database’s section of politics covers the gender balance amongst politicians at elected parliaments/assemblies at the European level – European Parliament; at national parliaments; regional assemblies and local/municipal councils; and political executives in the European Commission; national governments and regional executives; also gender-specific data of leaders of major political parties;
the database’s section of public administration covers data of the gender balance amongst senior civil servants at European institutions (Parliament, Commission and Council); European committees and European agencies; also at national level: national administrations (ministries);
There is also a background data section of the database which includes some data from the European Labour Force Survey (LFS) on the gender balance in the population as a whole, in the working population and amongst the heads of companies of all sizes in each country: population; employment; leaders of businesses.