Statistical note on gender balance in politics - EU candidate countries and potential candidates

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The persistent under-representation of women in politics remains a cause for concern. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) monitors the latest situation and trends at all territorial levels in the EU Member States and also in the EU candidate countries and potential candidates that benefit from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance – the so-called IPA beneficiaries. Data for key political decision-making bodies at national level are updated quarterly, while other data are mostly updated annually (local level only biennially). The latest quarterly update and the annual update of regional data were completed in December 2019.This Statistical Note has been developed under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funded by the European Union. Key findings in relation to IPA beneficiaries are: 

1. National level:

  • Women account for 26.6% of the members of national parliaments (single/lower house) across the 7 IPA beneficiaries compared to 32.2% in the EU Member States. In the IPA beneficiaries, therefore, men still outnumber women by 3 to 1.
  • The parliament in North Macedonia is gender balanced (i.e. at least 40% of each gender) but women account for less than 20% of members in Turkey. Indeed, the Turkish parliament is large (600 members) and weighs heavily on the overall results for IPA beneficiaries. If Turkey is excluded the proportion of women in parliaments in IPA beneficiaries rises to 34.2% and therefore ahead of the EU Member States.
  • All the IPA beneficiaries except Turkey have legislative quotas requiring a minimum proportion of women on candidate lists. Nevertheless, at the current rate of change, it will still take another 13 years to achieve gender balance in the combined parliaments of all seven IPA beneficiaries. This is, however, only one year behind the projected gender balance in EU Member States where the rate of change is slightly slower.
  • Less than one in ten major political parties in IPA beneficiaries (6.5%) has a woman leader, although there are slightly more women deputy leaders (13.9%). These results are much lower than in the EU where women account for 17.1% of party leaders and 34.5% of deputy leaders.
  • In national governments, women account for a fifth (21.8%) of senior ministers (members of the cabinet or equivalent) in the IPA beneficiaries compared to 30.4% in the EU. Albania has a gender balanced cabinet (53.3% women), but in all other IPA beneficiaries, men hold more than three-quarters of ministerial positions.

2. Regional level:

  • Latest data show that women hold only 11.2% of seats in regional assemblies in IPA beneficiaries and are even less well represented in regional executives (8.5%), again well behind the EU, where women hold at least a third of these positions.

3. Local level:

  • In 2019, women held a third of seats in local/municipal assemblies in the EU (32.6%), but less than a fifth in IPA beneficiaries (18.3%). None of the IPA beneficiaries have gender balanced local assemblies.

Very few women lead local/municipal councils in IPA beneficiaries (3.8%). The figure in the EU is also low (15.4%), but four times that in the IPA beneficiaries.