EC sets new women leaders targets

By on 25/07/2017 | Updated on 25/09/2020
The European Commission Diversity and Inclusion Charter has pledged to raise the proportion of women in its senior management teams to 40% by November 2019 (Image courtesy: J.Logan).

The European Commission has pledged to raise the proportion of women in its senior management teams to 40% by November 2019. Women currently make up 33 per cent of the commission’s senior managers and 35 per cent of heads of unit, up from 27 per cent and 32 per cent respectively in 2014.

An action plan to reach the target and a new Diversity and Inclusion Charter are the central planks of a new human resources policy launched by the commission on Wednesday.

A set of “robust measures” to boost the number of female managers includes individual targets for all departments on the number of new female appointments to head of unit posts, the commission said in a statement.

Departments that fail to hit their targets may be asked to take extra steps to pull in applications from female candidates before proceeding with an appointment.

Under the charter, commission staff are entitled to equal treatment and opportunities, irrespective of “sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation”.

Gunther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, said: “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.”

The diversity and inclusion strategy contains specific measures to address the concerns of four main target groups: women, older staff, people with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) staff. These include:

  • Dedicated management programmes for women and support for women’s networks;
  • Involvement of disabled staff in the planning of access and mobility facilities in the commission’s buildings;
  • Awareness-raising and training sessions aimed at addressing unconscious bias about LGBTI people for management and staff;
  • Monitoring of recruitment processes for discrimination against older people who apply for new jobs. 

The charter commits the commission to implementing a human resources policy that improves work-life balance and provides flexible working arrangements for both women and men, and that meets the obligations of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The strategy was adopted following consultation with representatives of the target groups within and outside the commission. A Diversity and Inclusion Report will be published in spring 2018.

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See also:

EU gender equality report reveals ‘mountain to climb’

Progress on female ministers has stalled, says UN

Governments doing too little on gender diversity, report finds

About Liz Heron

Liz Heron is a journalist based in London. She worked on daily newspapers for more than 16 years as an education correspondent, section editor and general news reporter. She was Education Editor of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and has contributed to a wide range of British media including The Independent, The Guardian and the BBC.

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