Gender balance in political decision making

We are delighted to announce that today, on International Women’s day, the European Equality Law Network publishes its report on the Promotion of gender balance in political decision-making. This report covers the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and the UK.

It aims to: (1) map and bring to light the current legal (hard and soft law) and policy frameworks on the promotion of gender balance in decision-making in political life in the countries covered by the report; (2) identify obstacles on promoting gender balance in decision-making in political life; (3) identify national promising/best practices on promoting gender balance in decision-making in political life; and (4) propose possible ways forwards for European Union and Commission action.

Some noteworthy findings of this report include amongst others that:

  • women in elected decision-making positions do not have a right to maternity leave in most countries covered by this study;
  • women in political decision making positions are frequently faced with online threats which are increasingly materializing into acts of aggression;
  • In spite of clear evidence in their favor, legally binding measures on the promotion of women to decision-making positions are still rare;
  • Quotas work, yet their full potential remains underused;
  • There is a lack of measures addressing the promotion of women in all their diversity, such as women from minorities, women with disabilities, LBT.

The European Equality Law Network

Over the past 20 years, Utrecht University has successfully managed the gender equality strand of the  European Equality Law Network, which counts among the biggest projects managed at Utrecht Law School. The current coordination team consists of Linda Senden and SIM members Alexandra Timmer, Birte Böök  and Franka van Hoof. The  Network consists of legal experts from 36 European states who gather independent, expert information on legislation, case law and national developments to support the European Commission in fulfilling its role as guardian of the treaties, responding to new challenges and setting agendas for law- and policy-making in the field of gender equality and non-discrimination. For further information on the network and its publications please visit our website