Women, Government and Policy Making in OECD Countries

Fostering Diversity for Inclusive Growth

image of Women, Government and Policy Making in OECD Countries

Achieving gender equality in the economy and in the political leadership remains an ongoing challenge across the world. This report aims to address this gap. It  provides comparative data and policy benchmarks on women's access to public leadership and inclusive gender-responsive policy-making across OECD countries. The report is prepared in the context of the OECD Gender Initiative, launched by the OECD Ministers.

English Spanish


Women's leadership in public life

This chapter highlights the current situation of women in public leadership positions in OECD countries and beyond. It describes women’s representation in parliaments, executive cabinets, the judiciary and top civil servant positions. Overall, women remain underrepresented in the top echelons of public power, although there are considerable cross-country differences due to various historical and socio-economic factors. The chapter offers a detailed analysis of potential driving forces behind the lack of women in key decision-making posts. The analysis is based on existing literature, legal analysis and findings from the 2014 OECD Survey on Gender Equality in Public Life, which involved interviews with parliamentarians, judges and legal experts. To address barriers to women’s advancement, the chapter identifies a set of good practices and policy avenues that can support governments in improving the gender balance in senior positions in public life. The chapter concludes with policy recommendations on breaking the glass ceiling in public life.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error