Empowering Women in EU’s Top Positions: Commission Talks Gender and Diversity

Written by | Monday, July 24th, 2017

The European Commission is planning to reach its target of having 40% of managerial top positions filled by women by the end of its mandate in 2019. Frans Timmermans, first Vice-President of the European Commission, said that the ambition was to show the EU’s full commitment to gender equality and making the most of the talent. “We cannot afford to put 50% of our brain power on the back-burner”. Women currently make up for 55% of the EU executive’s staff but only 34% of managers.

Mr. Timmermans also underlined that organizations, which have a gender-balanced management, are more productive, innovative and achieve better results. “If we want to show we are truly committed to being gender balanced, we have to give women the opportunity to fully play their role in the Commission’s management,” he added. In order to meet its objective, the Commission has now come up with a directive under which departments that are falling behind their targets might be asked to attract skilled female candidates before proceeding with an appointment.

Gender balance has been a priority of the Juncker Commission since it started its mandate. The original plan was already counting with bringing the number of women in top ranks from 27.5% to at least 40%. Günther Oettinger, who is in charge of the EU’s Budget and Human Resources, commented after the launch of the new diversity and inclusion strategy that “we want our staff to be valued and accepted, irrespective of their age, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities. If we build on this diversity, we will be more innovative and deliver better results for our citizens”.

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