women in parliaments

The share of women in single/lower houses of national parliaments in the EU has increased in the last 10 years from 24 % to 31 % in 2018, yet the rate of change is slow. Without further action, it would take another 12 years to achieve gender-balance (at least 40 % of either women or men) in national parliaments across the EU.

This is the story that EIGE’s data tells on women in politics:

  • 40 years after the first elections, the European Parliament is close to reaching gender balance, with 36 % women and 64 % men MEPs at the end of 2018.
  • Not all Member States’ delegations to the eighth European Parliament are gender-balanced. Bulgarian, Estonian, Cypriot, Lithuanian, and Hungarian delegations have less than 20 % women. Spanish, Irish, French, Croatian, Latvian, Maltese and Swedish delegations to the European Parliament have at least 40 % women. In the Finnish delegation, women outnumber men with 77 % of MEPs being women.
  • National parliaments in Sweden, Finland, Spain and France are gender-balanced, yet this is not the reality in all Member States. In the parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Hungary, fewer than 20 % of members are women.
  • Representation of women in national parliaments improved significantly in countries such as France (more than 20 %), Italy and Slovenia (around 15 % each). In other countries, the change has been small or even declined (e.g. Netherlands: from 41 % to 33 %).
  • On average, the situation in national governments has slightly improved, with women making up just 31 % of senior ministers in 2018, compared to 26 % in 2008.
  • There are slightly more women holding political top positions at regional level. In 2018, women constituted a third of the members of regional assemblies in the EU (33 %) and 36 % of members of regional executives.
  • Only 18 % of political party leaders in the EU were women in 2018. In just three countries (Germany, Portugal and the UK), women make up 40 % or more of all leaders.
  • In the Western Balkans and Turkey, the share of women in politics is lower than in the EU in all areas:  26 % women in national parliaments, 19 % of national governments, 6 % as leaders of major political parties, and just 11 % and 9 % amongst members of regional assemblies and regional governments respectively.

Figure: Share of women in national parliaments (single/lower house) in November 2018 and change since October 2008, EU-28

Source: EIGE Gender Statistics Database - national parliaments

Further information

Since 2017, EIGE collects and produces harmonised, comparable gender statistics in the area of women and men in decision-making (politics; public administration; judiciary; business and finance; social partners and NGOs; environment and climate change; media; education, science and research; and sports).

EIGE’s Gender Statistics Database provides statistical evidence that can support and complement the European Commission’s Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016 - 2019 and support the Member States to monitor their progress.

All data can be found in Gender Statistics Database: Women and men in decision-making