Last week I had a meeting with Commissioner Margot Wallstrom and a group of female MEPs to discuss ways of getting more women into senior jobs in the European Union. At the moment the top jobs in each of the European Institutions (Parliament, Commission and Council) are held by men. The European Parliament is currently made up of only 30% women. The Commission fairs only slightly better with just 33% being women. Whichever way you look at it – that can’t be good for representative democracy.
With European elections coming up in 2009, Commissioner Wallstrom has launched an initiative called the Inter-Institutional Network of Women to try and address this lack of female representation in European politics.
You can find out more about the campaign at http://www.send2women.eu/
At the meeting we also discussed ways of increasing turnout of women at European elections.
It’s also worth pointing out that whilst 30% female representation is pretty bad, some parties fair a lot worse that others. UKIP have no female representation in the European Parliament – they are an entirely male delegation. The Tories have just one female MEP out of a group of 28 MEPs. That’s just 4% women – only marginally better than the percentage of women in Parliament in Iran!