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Women in EU Politics

For the first time, the three major EU institutions, the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, and the European Central Bank, are all led by women. Considering the European Union is turning 30 in 2023 and its predecessors date back to the middle of the 20th century, it is about time that women finally can take leadership positions within these political institutions.

EU Commission

Ursula von der Leyen has been the President of the EU Commission since December 2019. Before that, the German politician held many offices within the German government during Angela Merkel’s reign. She was the only minister to have continuously served in Merkel’s cabinet since 2005. Before being appointed as the EU Commission President, her last post was as German Minister of Defense, the first woman to serve in that position in Germany. If you are one of the people who ask how women successfully combine career and family life - First, please also ask men that, and second, she is a great example, being the mother of 7.

European Central Bank

Christine Lagarde, a French politician, economist, and lawyer has served as President of the European Central Bank since November 2019 after being Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund for eight years. She became the first female to be the Minister of Finance for a G8 country when she was appointed in 2007. She held that position for four years and the Financial Times ranked her as the best finance minister in the Eurozone due to her response to the financial crisis in the 2000s.

EU Parliament

The last woman to make the trio complete is Roberta Metsola, appointed in January 2022 and the first Maltese politician to be President of the EU Parliament as well as the first female president since 2002 (third overall) and the youngest ever person to hold this position, being 43 at the time of her election.

photo: The Italian Times, from left to right: Roberta Metsola, Ursula von der Leyen, Christine Lagarde

Seeing these women lead their respective institutions with outstanding leadership and determination is fantastic. While this is a significant step, and these women can be fantastic role models for all the young girls who dream of working for the EU or entering politics in general, there is still a long way to go. Looking at governments worldwide, women are still drastically underrepresented, especially in high positions within a country’s leadership. Thankfully, there are more and more countries that are finally realizing that women make great leaders and can help their countries prosper (just look at countries like Finland or New Zealand at the moment) or Germany, which was led by a woman for 16 years and had one of the strongest economies worldwide.

It’s 2022 - it is long overdue that women are represented at the highest levels of political institutions and take on influential roles within the European Union and politics in general.

The Femme Lead team,

Rebecca Willems

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