A woman in senior management, a minority in her field, leaning over a conference table crowded with young employees.
Image: © Vadim_key/Stock.adobe.com

How many women actually make it to senior management in the EU?

22 Mar 2019

Across all EU member states, the share of women in senior management leaves much to be desired. Yet which countries are the worst offenders?

Achieving gender equality in the workplace and beyond is a mammoth task. It is also one hampered by a dearth of reliable data on the topic. For a long time, a lack of diversity at all levels of business – particularly higher levels – was dismissed with sexist platitudes and myths. Women, it was claimed, were inherently unsuitable for leadership. They didn’t have the necessary assertiveness and boldness to climb to the top.

Fortunately, society has made decent progress in moving beyond these preconceptions. Increasing numbers of women are cropping up in senior management – yet parity is still a long way off, according to data released recently by Eurostat.

Eurostat took a look at the percentage of women in management positions in various EU countries. It demonstrates that while the share of women in general management positions has steadily increased in recent years – climbing as high as 56pc in Latvia – senior management is still extremely male-dominated.

The highest overall share of women in senior management is in Lithuania, at just 28pc. The Czech Republic proved the most disappointing in this area, with a mere 6pc in senior management. This is well below the EU average, which came in at 17pc.

Ireland came in at 16pc, which floats near but just misses the average by a hair. It would be remiss to deem this a success, though.

When social enterprise Equileap was compiling its data on the best companies in the world for gender equality, not a single indigenous Irish firm managed to crack the top 200. Equileap CEO Diana van Maasdijk, speaking to Siliconrepublic.com, argued that Ireland can’t necessarily chalk this up to its relative lack of eligible firms. If anything, she argued, the problem in Ireland is that in the companies her firm analysed, “women don’t really make it to the boards”.

That aligns well with the grim Eurostat findings. Valiant though continued efforts may be to redress gender imbalances, the truth remains that Ireland and its European cohorts have a long way to go before achieving parity.

To look at more of the results, check out the infographic below produced by Statista.

Women in management and senior management infographic

Click to enlarge. Infographic: Statista

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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