BRUSSELS (AFP) – Only one manager out of three in Europe is a woman, official data showed yesterday, despite women making up half of the European workforce.
Women also accounted for just one quarter of board members of publicly listed companies, the European Union’s (EU) Eurostat agency revealed, in data released in time for International’s Women Day on March 8.
Fighting sexism in the workplace is a priority of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, which on Thursday announced it would propose legislation to force companies to expose publicly the gender pay gap.
Companies should welcome pay transparency because female workers “are not going to be proud working for a company which is not paying them as much as their male counterparts,” Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli said.
The commissioner said it also hoped to revive plans for mandatory quotas of women on company boards that has been resisted by certain member states since 2012.
Even though quotas “can be a very ugly word”, they were also “a necessary evil … because otherwise we will wait another 100 years for things to change by themselves”.
EU vice President Vera Jourova stressed that some member states had “not waited for Europe to introduce quotas and are seeing the results”.
This included France, which Eurostat said leads EU countries – with company boards 45 per cent filled by women – followed by Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Italy. “We should not give up”, Jourova said.
Eurostat said that of the 6.7 million managers in 2019, 4.3 million were men and 2.5 million were women.
Among the 27 member States, only Latvia has a higher proportion of female managers than male managers followed by Bulgaria, Poland and Estonia.
At the other end of the scale with very few female mangers were Cyprus, Luxembourg and Denmark.