European Database: Women in Decision-making

Aims of the Project


Women form 52 % of the EU's population, and though highly qualified and occupying an increasing share of the labour market, they are significantly underrepresented in the decision-making echelons in most Member States and in the European Institutions. All European Summits since Maastricht have underlined that Europe cannot afford the lack of equal treatment of women and men. The Amsterdam Treaty stresses the obligation to make equal opportunities an integral part of all European and national level policies.

The 4th Medium-Term Community Action Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (1996 - 2000) aims to strengthen women's status as citizens and has defined in specific terms the promotion of a balanced participation of women and men in decision-making as one of its major objectives.

In order to increase women's participation in leadership positions all over the European Union awareness raising efforts targeted at decision-makers in all spheres of society, the public at large and at women of all age groups and in all life-situations are paramount. The European Database Women in Decision-Making addresses that need. In a systematic and up-to-date form it presents information on women's participation in political and economic decision-making, with data on female representation in the media and in the world of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to follow.

Aims of the Project

The European Database Women in Decision-Making is funded in the framework of the 4th EU Action Programme on Equal Opportunities by the European Commission, the German Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend) and the Berlin Ministry for Labour, Vocational Training and Women (Senatsverwaltung für Arbeit, Berufsbildung und Frauen). Over a period of four years the project will be implemented in four distinct phases. Currently the database contains information on women in politics in national and regional governments and parliaments, the European Parliament, the European Commission and other selected European Institutions. Individual biographies and career paths of women politicians will be available by November 1998. Regular up-dating and analysis of data - especially after elections - is planned for the whole duration of the project.


The European Database Women in Decision-Making provides a valuable source of information for politicians and researchers, social partners, the media and NGOs. It will also prepare the ground for qualitative studies and strategies to increase participation and impact of women in decision-making.

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