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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

11 Mar 2019

Statistics show under-representation of women in management positions, also at universities

On the occasion of International Women's Day on 8 March 2019, several institutions have published statistics on various aspects of gender equality. These include, amongst others, figures by the European University Association (EUA), by Eurostat and by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, all of which show that women are still under-represented in management positions.

The EUA figures look at the numer of female university leaders in Europe in particular. According to these statistics, universities are still male-dominated institutions. In 2019, 14% of rectors in 46 countries with EUA members are female, compared to 86% being male. The situation varies across countries as the proportion of female rectors is above the average in 16 countries, and below in eight countries. Notably, 22 countries currently do not have any female rectors. Nonetheless, between 2014 and 2019, the number of femal rectors has increased by 36%. Vice-rectors have a 30% share of women, with some countries even having women in the majority in this function (Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Iceland).

Eurostat finds that generally, only 1 out of 3 managers in the EU is a woman. Among the nearly 9.4 million persons hold a managerial position in the EU, 6.0 million (64%) are men and 3.4 million (36%) are women, a share that has remained stable since 2012. In addition, women account for a little over one quarter of board members of publicly listed companies in the EU (27%), and for less than one fifth of senior executives (17%) in 2018. 

Latvia has the highest share of female managers, and at 56% is the only Member State where women are a majority in this occupation. It is followed by Bulgaria and Estonia (both 49%), Poland and Slovenia (both 47%), Hungary (43%), Lithuania and Sweden (both 42%), Ireland (41%), and Slovakia (40%). The lowest share of female managers is recorded in Luxembourg (15%), followed by Cyprus (23%), the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands (all 29%), Germany (30%), as well as Greece and Austria (both 32%).

In the same context, the JRC has published a study analysing women's disadvantage and achievements in different EU regions and launched a a Regional Gender Equality Monitor. According to the JRC, the study confirms that while women are under-represented in politics across Europe, higher female representation increases the quality of governance.

For more information:

EUA - news

Eurostat - press release

JRC - News


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