The graph shows the total number of seats in each Member State and the percentage of those currently hold by women.
For the 2014 European elections, eight Member States had gender quotas that concern the make-up of electoral lists. Member States’ gender quotas are gender-neutral, aiming to avoid the under-representation of both women and men. Only two Member States required lists in parity (50 %/50 %) – Belgium and France. Slovenia and Spain required gender-balanced electoral lists, with each gender represented by at least 40 % of the candidates on the list. Croatia also had a 40 % gender balanced list, but the requirement will be legally enforceable only at the third regular European elections, i.e. in 2024. The gender-balanced lists in Portugal required at least 33 % (1/3) of each gender. Poland’s gender quota for the European elections was first applied in the 2014 elections, with at least 35 % of candidates of each gender. Romania’s electoral rules establish that no all-women or all-men lists are possible.
In order to ensure that candidates from both sexes are placed in positions on an electoral list with a good chance of winning a seat, some Member States required the alternate ordering of men and women on the list (‘zipping’). This is the case in France, Belgium (only the first two positions on the list) and Portugal (not more than two consecutive candidates of the same sex on the list). Slovenian electoral law required at least one candidate of each gender in the upper half of the list. In Spain, the 40 %/60 % ratio applied within each five-candidate cluster on the list. Some Member States had gender clauses for national elections but not for the European elections, for instance Greece and Ireland. Whilst in some Member States electoral lists that did not meet the requirements of the gender clause were invalid (e.g. Spain, Slovenia and Romania), in others such lists were admitted to the elections but the party or coalition submitting them was punished with a fine and/or a cut in electoral campaign subsidies (e.g. Portugal). Italy had gender-balanced lists (1/3 for each gender) for the 2004 and 2009 EP elections. It introduced a new system in 2014 whereby third preference votes would not be counted if the voter did not vote for at least one candidate of each gender.