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Thursday, August 28, 2014

It says it won’t accept a “gentlemen’s club” but how gender-balanced is the European Parliament itself?

Jean-Claude Juncker and his people have rightly expressed concern over the lack of female European Commission candidates put forward by member states. It’s raining men in Brussels as we put it recently.

Never slow to jump on a bandwagon, certain MEPs are now digging in as well, threatening a veto (remember the European Parliament has to approve the new Commission) should Juncker’s Commission not include enough women.

The European Parliament’s President Martin Schulz – the guy, remember, who lost to Juncker – said
"The European Parliament is very concerned that at present virtually all the potential candidates whose names are circulating are men. The European Parliament will not accept a gentlemen’s club." 
The head of the liberal ALDE group, Guy Verhofstadt – a man known for his strong views – added
"As liberals, we cannot support a commission with too few women."
Meanwhile, the head of the Socialists in the EP, an Italian gentleman named Gianni Pittella, said
"We will not support a European Commission with fewer women than today." 
Fine, these three men have a point. But let’s throw back the question: how gender-balanced is the European Parliament itself? Well, a rather mixed bag it turns out – with some depressing stats in particular:

  • 20% of members in the Conference of Presidents – EP group leaders plus the EP President, i.e. the top dogs – are female 
  • 22% of the leaders of the EP’s political groups are female 
  • 37% of MEPs are female 
  • 45% of the EP’s committee chairs are female (encouragingly up from 36% in the last Parliament) 
So whilst not exactly Whites or the East India Club – hardly a great beacon of gender balance either. As that old saying goes, start with the man (errr) in the mirror.


duncan said...

I am not aware of any black candidates in the line-up either. And does the representation of blacks inthe Commisions and EP reflect the proportion in the EU's population?

And what about gays? And other members of the LGBTQ community?

I think we should be told.

Anonymous said...

I think we should also be told if stamp collectors, matchbox, beermats and toy train collectors are also fairly represented.

And what about MEP's with an Asian, Australian-Aborigine, Falkland Islands, South American and Chinese background...does the representation of these minorities in the Commisions and EP reflect the proportion in the EU's population?

Anonymous said...

That's enough now. I am fed up to the back teeth with hearing about ruddy female quotas (and I'm a female). The world is getting more dangerous everyday - we have British Jihadists beheading American journalists, we have the provocation of Russia until war is imminent, instead of siding with Israel and Russia and yes, China, to defeat islamification of the globe. AND ALL WE HEAR FROM ENDLESS EXPENSIVE EU COMMITTEES IS FEMALE QUOTAS. Enough!

Average Englishman said...

No democracy worth talking about, the Eurozone is going bust, the flames of war are growing in Ukraine and fanatical Islamic types threaten to chop everyone's heads off but OMG, there are not enough women on the payroll to share responsibility for all of these disasters and so the EUSSR must lurch into action! I'm all for women's rights but this is just bonkers.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the quaint old-fashioned idea of appointing the best person for the job?

Jesper said...

Maybe Juncker could threaten to resign if the balance isn't achieved?

Since he is the peoples choice for head of commission there'd be widespread outrage and public demonstrations supporting him and his position? Or maybe not...