Europe should have gender quotas

There is no reason for the low number of women at the top; legislation is needed.

Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel are without a doubt among the most reputable and responsible political leaders in the Western world today. Yet, among those working at the highest levels both in government and business, these two extraordinary individuals remain major exceptions, on the basis of their gender. The reality that women occupy a tiny fraction of the world’s top leadership positions perhaps suggests the need to attract more women to positions of great responsibility, but ‘how’ this can be accomplished is still a controversial issue.

Merkel is today effectively the president of Europe. She takes her responsibilities with the utmost seriousness at the national, European and global level, in a manner matched by few other European politicians. After the elections in 2005, she managed to leapfrog over the egocentric Edmund Stoiber to become Germany’s chancellor. Her star has continued to rise, and it looks likely that she will move into a third term. However, she has the difficult task of placating the Eurosceptics (or Germany’s ‘Tea Party’ contingent) in her own party and persuading her supporters to continue to bear Germany’s historical responsibility in the European context.

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