EPLO Urges EEAS High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy to Address Gender Imbalances

October 23, 2014

The European Peacebuilding Liason Office (EPLO) has published a statement urging the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy to address the current gender imbalance in the European External Action Service (EEAS). 

This argument is supported by the findings of the 2013 EEAS mid-term review, which acknowledged the difficulty of attracting qualified female candidates for senior-level positions and also recognized the need to intensify work on addressing the gender imbalance and removing potential barriers to career progression. 

The statement says that the absence of women from high-level positions in an organization such as the EEAS that supports women's leadership and participation in peace, security, and as change agents in conflicts "raises the question of double standards" and detracts from legitimacy, especially in promoting these principles abroad. 

EPLO calls for the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy (HR/VP) to develop a strategy to address the gender imbalance in the appointment of senior-level EEAS positions. EPLO also cited a number of good practices and attempts that have already been made to address this issue that should be supported and strengthened including: 

  • Ensuring that there are women on interview panels for senior-level jobs in the EEAS
  • Using the EEAS Women’s Network to support women within EU external affairs
  • Continuing the practice of the HR/VP meeting women when visiting third countriesand extending it to EU Special Representatives and Heads of CSDP missions
  • Encouraging the European Parliament to continue to monitor and reject imbalances in appointments in other EU institutions
  • Urging the Member States to propose female candidates for high-level positions, such as those of European Commissioners, as requested by Jean-Claude Junker


The publication includes both short-term and long-term objectives for EEAS: A 33% minimum quota for women in senior-level positions to be established as a temporary measure by October 2015 and a 50% target of women in senior-level management positions by 2017. 


Read the full statement here

Pictured: EEAS High Representative for Foreign and  Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.

Ms. Catherine Ashton has held the position of EEAS High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy since December 2009. She will be replaced by the incumbent Ms. Federica Mogherini on November 1, 2014. 

Photo courtesy of EUintheUS.

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