Report Looking at Women

Conclusions Report Looking at Women 2016

Final Diagnosis Conclusions and Considerations

The results of our diagnosis, in addition to addressing the situation of women in the European Union, also contextualises the 100Mirrors Extended project and serves as a guide part of the contents in accordance with the identified needs, to deal with the demands by the women we address. Another of the purposes of the 100Mirrors Extended project is to provide young women who have recently finished their higher education stud¬ies with meeting point showing examples of success, encouraging them to create their own entrepreneurial project at a time when the labour market does not offer many other alternatives for developing their profession¬al careers. Although this study has dealt with women in the 100Mirrors Extended consortium countries in detail (Austria, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Holland and Spain), we have decided to include the European scenario in our conclusions, for the figures and documents have also been reviewed. 

In general this report highlights the fact that the situation of women in Europe, and even in the world, has only undergone small changes in terms of equality in all stud¬ied sectors and areas. In a recent prospective analysis in 2015, the IMF confirms this situation and calculates that at this slow speed it will take a further 81 years to close the gender gap in the labour market. Social reality is not coherent with the advances made in legislation which in Europe guarantees equal rights and opportunities for women and men. There are many reasons to believe that the real inequality is structural and is based on many fac¬tors that cannot be solved just through policies and com-mitments. “”Breaking down” stereotypes and changing attitudes will bring with it a more equal, fairer society, and is a task in which Education must undoubtedly play a hugely significant role, at all levels. But, although the importance of educating at early stages is usually point¬ed out, we should not forget higher education, because from this level the men and women who, because of their education, will most likely have more opportunities than less qualified people are likely to make deci¬sions that affect this subject. It is very likely that today’s university students - women and men - are the ones who will hold relevant positions from where they will be able to work and intervene to promote equality behaviour, attitudes and government or corporate policies 


In the 28 European Union countries, there are more female graduates than males. In the European Union in 2014 58.8% of graduates were females and moreo¬ver, they achieved higher qualifications than their male counterparts on average. 

Nevertheless, the fact that these young women are better qualified is no guarantee of better job oppor¬tunities because there is a notable lack of correlation between the level of education of women and their presence in qualified jobs, more still in positions of leadership. 

On the other hand, there is horizontal segregation that confirms that the presence of women is still low in cer¬tain fields of study. Women are relegated and under-rep¬resented in Science, Engineering and Mathematics de¬grees. On the other hand, meanwhile, Education, Social and Health Sciences are “feminised” fields of study, where women are over-represented compared to the number of male students and graduates. Higher training in Education (80.3%), and Health Sciences (77.9%), are occupied by women, according to OECD. 

On the other hand, women teachers in all European countries and in the 100Mirrors Extended countries occupy a high number of posts in early stage education, but as the level increases, and consequently social pres¬tige and recognition, the proportion of women is lower. Furthermore, their presence is not proportional in aca¬demic posts at managerial level compared to their high representation among teaching staff. In short, women teach and men manage. 

At universities, women hold the lower, more unstable jobs. In 2013 women represented 45% of grade C aca¬demic staff, the lowest in the university professor career. 

At the highest level (full professors), women accounted for 21%, whereas men represented 79%.There is hence, definite vertical segregation, over--representation of men, which is more highly paid and holds more prestige, than the other relegated group. 

It is worth insisting on the fact that there is evidence in Europe of horizontal and vertical gender segregation throughout the education system, as is the case in re¬search careers. 

Women and employment 

Throughout their careers women still undergo major dif¬ficulties to gain access to and achieve jobs in line with their training. Inequality between women and men per¬sists at job level the world over, with regards to job op¬portunities and working conditions.. Nevertheless, in all the countries around the world, as the training levels increases, there are more possibilities of securing a job. 

Unequal distribution of non-remunerated tasks, care and household - which have intensified as a result of austerity measures and spending cuts - and the differ¬ent way women and men use their time, affects gender inequality at work. 

Women are more likely to find themselves and remain in situations of unemployment than men. Among women born in the European Union, the number of in¬active women is 26%. 

The number of employed women in the EU-2 countries in 2015 reached an all-time record of 64.5%, whereas for men this figure was 76.5%. On average, in OECD coun¬tries, 66% of women hold jobs, compared to 80% men. Women who work part time (20%) and those who work full time (44%) represent a considerably lower figure than men. 

When they find jobs, women usually find poorer qual¬ity employment, many of which is part time: one out of every five women between 25 and 49 years old has a part time job in the European Union. But as women have more children the temporary nature of employ¬ment increases: women with one child represent 31.3%; women with two children nearly 40% and women with 3 children or more account for over 45%. 

Therefore, the main reason why women have part time work contracts - according to them - is to care for their children or sick, disabled or elderly adults. This is hardly ever the case among men. 

In spite of the advancement over recent decades, the rate of participation by women in the job market has in¬creased; there is still a wage gap in the European Union: on average in Europe, women earn 16% less than men, whereas this percentage is higher in the countries where the crisis has only served to worsen the situation. But the unbalanced data in the European Union, the UN Women Report 2015 does point out that at world level, women earn 24% less than men. 

In recent years growing interest has been recorded in female businesswomen and the subject of enterprise, partly as a result of the unemployment problem caused by the economic crisis. In 2014 in EU-28, the percentage of self-employed men represented 19% of the employed population, a figure that is higher than the number of women standing at 11.7%. 

Legislation and Politics (Leading positions in Public Administrations) 

In spite of the constitutional guarantees concerning equal rights between men and women, women still have more problems taking active part in public life, fully developing their political and judicial careers and reaching top level jobs. 

In the judicial system women are dominant among judges, presidents and vice-presidents at low court levels, where the number of women is higher than the number of men. Nevertheless, once again the higher the position, the more difficult it is for women to achieve equal representation. 

European institutions do not show a different scenario. In the European Council - consisting of heads of state and governments of the member states, exercising executive power in EU-28, there are five women compared to 23 men. Whereas in the European Commission, consisting of 28 members: 9 women and 18 men. 

In the European Parliament there has been a certain degree of equality evolution, but progress is slow. In March 2016 there were 37% women compared to 63% men, only two percent higher than in 2009. 

The gender unbalance is not a one-off situation in the EU institutions that only affects its organisations. The Court of Justice, Accounts, Regional Committee and Economic and Social Committee are all presided by men. 

At national level, in the Supreme Court, the maximum legal body of States, in 2015 participation by women - considering the “average” in the European Union member states stood at 39%. The Supreme Court is pre¬sided by women in 8 of the European Union 28 coun¬tries, whereas the remaining 20 are presided by men. Among the 20 countries that have an Administrative Court, there is only one woman president. There are only two European countries where a woman is president of the Constitutional Court, and among public prosecutors there are only 6 women holding these posts. 

In national parliaments women are still a minority. In the single/lower house, the total of the 28 countries in the European Union, according to 2016 data, represen¬tation by congresswomen / female members of parlia¬ment is 28% compared to 72% representation by men. As for the Senate (upper house), presence by women does not exceed 27%. Only Belgium has equal representation. 

At world level, in January 2015 in thirty-eight states, women represented less than 10% of members of parliament in the lower houses, including 5 countries with no female representatives at all. 

On the other hand, in high technical posts linked to top level ministries, average representation by women in EU-28 is 31% and if we go down a level to Level 2, the percentage increases to 40%. 

The causes that explain this unbalance between men and women in the fields of power are many and varied. Many of them stem from traditional gender roles and deeply rooted stereotypes; the so-called “glass ceiling”; the “male” political culture restricting access by women to decision-making posts; the lack of commitment by people to recognise this reality and resolving to correct it. Individual, social commitment is required, and lob¬bying by the public administrations to demand change - rather than just proposals - to speed up the process of effective equality. The quota policies, although temporary, provide a solution to encourage equality and speed up balance, although there is a risk of people considering that women only hold power “because of the quota” and not because of their ability or talent. 

Banking, Industry, Agriculture and Services 

In the private sector, banking, industry, agriculture and livestock farming - all of which are traditionally “male dominated” sectors, there is a major disproportion in participation by women at all levels: from labourers to management and decision-making. 

Women’s work is less recognised. Women tend to occupy clerical, sales and domestic services posts while men mainly take part in manufacturing and transport. In EU-28 in 2014, 10.9% of total employees were women in the industrial sector and 3.8% in agriculture. The data also confirms that women employed in these sec¬tors have worse working conditions and lower salaries. 

Nevertheless, 85.3% of employed women in EU-28 work in the services sector. Women exceed the number of men working in all European countries and in the 100Mirrors Extended countries, by a high percentage (Graph 3). 

The branches of activity included in the service sector, such as health care, education or retail, although not the senior managerial posts, are the business areas where women have higher representation than men, regardless of other unspecified activities. 

In self-employment the services sector is where most women work, both in the case of self-employed workers with or without employees. In 2012, 65% services activi¬ties still comprise the area where the highest concen¬tration of entrepreneurial women are found. In Human health and social work activities women account for 59% and in Education 54%. 

Managerial posts and top positions in banking and the private sector are occupied by men. 

On Boards of Directors in major corporations, the pres¬ence of women is practically zero, even when determined by Directors who are appointed by State Administration departments. Of around 650 European companies listed on the stock market, only 7% of these companies are presided by women. And women represent 22.7% of the Board members in the major listed companies reg-istered in the EU-28 countries. 

In Europe women are only represented at executive level in 15% of companies. Whereas, at non-executive level, the European average increases to 25%. None of the three major European financial institutions- CEB, Euro-group and the European Investment Bank- are presid¬ed by a woman. And on Boards of Directors, women are still a minority, not even reaching balanced representa¬tion. In the Central European Bank, the most prestigious, there is only 8% participation by women, i.e. 2 women for every 23 men. 

In the United Nations System, only 9% of senior man¬agement posts and 21% of middle management posts are occupied by women, compared to 48% of the lower ranking professional posts. 

Science, Health, Research and Technology 

Women are poorly represented in the Science and Tech¬nology sector, both academically and in jobs. The gender gap in scientific and technology degrees is a reality: in Europe there are only 3 women for every 10 male sci¬entists. And women also remain under-represented in engineering and technology. All of this is reflected in the low number of women who work in medium and high technology companies. Women in this field are only over-represented in jobs of low stability, prestige and salary. 

Horizontal segregation starts at an early age, and is con¬solidated in university studies where men more than double the number of women in engineering, manu¬facturing and construction degrees. There are very few women who study technology and experimental scienc¬es, and few men who choose life science degrees. 

Medical sciences is one of the areas where participation by women has most increased. In most countries, women focus on the social sciences, medical science and humanities. 

Disinformation, lack of vocation, a society that does not pave the way, the lack of feminine references in these fields and family expectations are just some of the reasons why students choose other “non-scientific” fields of knowledge. 

The data show how the number of female researchers is lower than the number of men in scientific and tech¬nical research. The number of female researchers and research project managers, particularly in science and technology, is way below the number managed by men. 

Women researchers tend to work in public sectors and the academic, while men dominate the private research sector, which offers higher salaries and better progress opportunities. In EU-28, in the private sector, there is only one woman for every 5 men. Nevertheless, in the public sector women represent over 40%. 

In 2012, 13.5% of women researchers held part time jobs (compared to 8.5% of men) and 10.8% had precari¬ous labour contracts (compared to 7.3% of men). Never¬theless, the gender gap in part time employment rates was much lower in the higher education sector than in economy as a whole. 

In academic institutions, the gap widens are the level of research recognition increases. The higher we go in university research careers, the bigger the distance be¬tween men and women: The number of men increases as the number of women decreases, to reach the widest gender gap at the highest level - Grade A-, with is that of Research Professor (RP), with 24.7% of these posts being held by women compared to 75.2% held by men. 

The gender wage gap also remains in research: in 2010 the average gross hourly earnings by women in EU-28 was 17.9% lower than that of men in scientific research.

On the other hand, the percentage of entrepreneurial women in 2012 in the “Professional, scientific and tech¬nical activities” represented 34%, compared to 66% of men. 

Presence by women in higher echelons of research ca¬reers, and in decision-making posts, has not advanced in recent years at a proportional rate to the number of women qualified to access those jobs. In ten years (from 2004 to 2014) the number of women has risen from 16% to 20% as heads of research institutions. 

Culture: Art, Creativity and Sport 

The cultural and creative industries, compared to more traditional sectors, should favour female employment because cultural production is dynamic, inclusive and entrepreneurial. Nevertheless, the general precarious¬ness of labour contracts in many cultural and creative industries, the difficulty of accessing capital investment and credit for projects and access to property rights, mean that a professional career in this sector is difficult, more so in the case of creative women. In fact, in the cultural sector, in addition to there being less women employees than men, there is a wide wage gap. 

In the cultural industry women hold posts of respon¬sibility in small and medium size enterprises or when they set up their own companies. On the other hand, in big organisations, women usually exercise positions of medium or low importance. 

The percentage of entrepreneurial women in the EU-28 countries in “arts, entertainment and creation” represented 40% compared to the number of men: women employers (with personnel) were 37%; and the percentage of solo women entrepreneurs, 40%. 

On the other hand, women entrepreneurs in informa¬tion and communication account for 20%in Europe-28 of total number of entrepreneurs, compared to men who control the sector with 80% representation. 

The percentage of women among employees in the broadcasting industry (TV, radio and news agencies) is 46%, although there is data to claim that this figure does not entail equality between men and women: In the European Union-28 countries, the 2014 data shows that 40 men presided the Boards of Directors of the public broadcasters. In the same year only 9 women held these posts. 

Women are under-represented in leadership posts: among the managers of the main broadcasting organisations, women represent 37% at the lowest level, 21% at the highest operating level, and 16% among those who make strategic decisions, such as general managers and presidents. 

In the cinema industry, there is a disproportion between the women who graduate from cinema schools and those who actually work in this industry. Only one out of every five films is directed by a woman (21%). 84% of public funds are assigned to films directed by men. Nevertheless, 10% more films reach film festivals directed by women and win 6% more prizes than those directed by men. 

Women directors become demotivated due to several causes: job instability, lack of funding and distribution of films directed by women, and the lack of conduct models. 

As far as sport is concerned, in spite of the fact that there is insufficient data in this category: out of date and a lot of the data is not separated by sex, there is general consensus in that sport is one of the areas where there is a lot of sex discrimination, particularly in the number of federated women in elite competition, the salaries and decision-making organisations. 

The sports that move money and the economy are “men’s sports”: football, motorcycle racing, car racing, tennis, etc. There is gender segregation, consisting of stereotypes and gender roles: the choice of Rhythmic Gymnastics and football, just to give one example, is conditioned by early socialisation processes orienting girls towards “feminised sports”. 

In agreement with the lack of social interest for “feminine sports”, participation by women in decision-making posts in sports organisations is scarce: 38% of European sports federations do not have a single woman in their governing bodies, as is the case of the European Olympic Committee. 

Voluntary and Social Economy Enterprises (Third Sector) 

The concept of social entrepreneurship came about in Western Europe within the so-called Third Sector or Social Economy. The Social Economy contributes to pluralism of markets, sustainable development, the fight against poverty, participative democracy, etc. These are dynamic, sustainable companies with strong social objec¬tives. 

It is hard to find gender indicators that consider the weight of this economy in the wealth and employment statistics. Studies on the Social Economy and Third Sector do not usually consider gender as a variable when designing research. 

The work load of non-remunerated care still mainly lies with women. And spending more time caring for the family takes up time that could be spend on other altruist activities oriented towards social welfare, such as taking part in tasks related to community improvement and voluntary work. Even so, in most EU-28 countries more women than men take part in voluntary work activities, and particularly there are more women em¬ployed in this sector. 

The gender wage gap is lower in the third sector than in other more traditional sectors, public or private, and is lower for people in senior management posts. This leads us to the conclusion that gender inequality is less marked in the third sector than in the private sector. 

63% of women employed in the Third Sector work in “health and social care” compared to 49% men; 13% of women work in education. 

As for feminine entrepreneurship in the Third Sector, because women are averse to competition, and the social markets are generally more recent and less dominated by competitive pressure of commercial business initiatives, women are more willing to open or own a social company. Women particularly look to Social Services companies (32% compared to 18%, which are managed by men) and Health (15% compared to 8%). 

Women are less represented in senior management posts in big companies in the Third Sector; but the smaller the organisation, the rate of women managers and directors is balanced. 

Nevertheless, even acknowledging the fact that the situation in this sector is more balanced between women and men than in the public and private sectors, some research concludes, among other data, that women “hold lower managerial and professional posts, are volunteers and engage in “care work” within the third sector organi¬sation”.

Conclusions from the direct survey 

The objective of the questionnaire was approached in order to let women entrepreneurs speak. The survey was carried out in all the 100Mirrors Extended consortium countries. The results that were obtained are an indicating to be taken into account when designing the 100Mirrors Extended project. 

The requirements used when selecting the sample (women starting up their own entrepreneurial project) meant that in many cases the age range of the women did not exceed 40 years old. Most women were between 30 and 39 years old. 

Their replies give us some insight into their profile, their motivation, the factors for and against that have been determining when move their companies forward or halt them, and the needs they claim. To summarise, we could conclude that: 

Entrepreneurship can be a good choice at any time during one’s career. 

 High qualification of surveyed female entrepreneurs: 62% had university education. 

The percentage of women without children accounted for 58.7% of the total. 

They are motivated by passion, developing an idea, the wish for independence, but also by the need to find their space in the job market. 

75% of women entrepreneurs do not consider starting up with employees. They want to depend on their own work and effort, and to a lesser extent to sharing it with partners with equal responsibilities. 

Despite the difficulties, they tackle their projects with optimism and enthusiasm. 

• Most of them use the social networks .More specifically Facebook, and to a lesser extent Linkedin. 

• The factors in favour, that they believe have most favoured their projects, are related to themselves: their personality, training/qualifica¬tion. 

• They also highlight the importance of personal relationships and access to relevant information, along with support from their families (although 15% saw families as an obstacle in their careers). 

• As for the factors that women emphasised going against their projects, they find economic difficulties and a lack of institutional support. 

• They claim: financial, legal and technological advice, and a guide or advisor serving as liaison, are the most repeated demands to consolidate their projects. 

• For most of the women, personal contact is still a fundamental part of their training to accompany women entrepreneurs. 

• 60.8% of women entrepreneurs would like to have personal coaching or mentoring, whereas 41.75% claim traditional training. 


The second part of the questionnaire, with open-ended questions, gave us some insight about entrepreneurial competences and the subject of leadership, through their perception about female representation and their models of women entrepreneurs. 

To start with the surveys identify sectors where they believe women are least represented: politics, economy and science. And their perception is a perfect match with the reality identified in the previous diagnosis. 

When identifying their own competences, the surveyed women considered themselves to be skilled and emphasised: 

Features of their personality linked to motiva¬tion to start up their project. They state they are: creative, perseverant, passionate, initiative, curious, driven, optimistic, motivated, etc. 

Conduct linked to perseverance and effort: organisation, hard work, perseverance, persis¬tence, patience, etc. 

And they underscore attitudes and behaviour centred on relationships with other people: sociable, group work, communication, empathy, etc. 

As for their model entrepreneurs, in addition to pointing out certain aptitudes related to their training:“being an expert”, “being prepared”, “wide knowledge”, etc. refer¬ring to the subject of leadership, and we have clearly identified two different models, that match what has been coined masculine leadership and feminine leadership, or if we prefer the hard profile and soft profile: 

If masculine leadership, among others, is the one that has more emotional control and in general being more serious, autonomous, demanding, competitive, rational, objective oriented and more ambitious and less communicative. And they usually take more risks. 

Then we have identified many competences linked to this model in the image of successful women entrepreneurs as named by the surveyed women. 

Women who know what they want, are ambitious, have strong personalities, self-confident, unyielding, capable of analysis, decisive, brave, hard... 

Whereas if the Feminine Leadership model is defined as being people oriented, coopera¬tive, more participative, social skills, empathy, capable of team work and interaction. More sociable, expressive and approachable. 

Then we have also find many features in their replies referring to this type of leadership: vul-nerable women, concerned about others, who are good listeners, work as a team, help others, supportive and empathetic, assertive and sensitive, etc. 

It is exactly that ability of women entrepreneurs to relate to other people, know how to listen and consider their opinions, that makes them so valuable, without that meaning that women are not concerned about achieving organisational targets. 

The surveyed women - also women entrepreneurs - admire those women who have gradually been promoted in their careers; and reject, in all models, weakness, fear of failure, apathy, sadness, dependence, disillusion and incompetence. 

But moreover, many of the surveyed women, when talking about work, also refer to their private lives; either to point out a woman model they admire who has managed to reconcile her personal life and work; or to commit to women, without children, whose lives are dedicated to achieving professional goals, removed from any dependence. Whichever the case, to the extent that women name it, they do not detach themselves from  “their” responsibility concerning maternity and caring tasks. We doubt that this subject would be mentioned so often - even for rejecting it - if men had been asked, or if they had been asked about masculine entrepreneurship. 

On the other hand, we have also seen that many of the answers associated feminine leadership with transformational leadership - coined by Bernard Bass - as the kind that is characterised by achieving extraordinary effects on satisfaction and performance by employees and that is comprehensive and sensitive to the needs of their team.

Final Conclusions


To end with, we would like to emphasise that today’s society, so needy of good leaders, cannot afford to limit access to decision-making posts for over half of the population (women), who have proven capability and are very well prepared. 

As Dasgupta and Asgari (note) predicted in 2004, as more and more women occupy managerial posts, the association of man - leader will weaken and this will make it easier for women to access managerial posts in the future. Even though there is still a lot to do, because the process is very slow, according to these authors, a key group where action should be taken is the group of men who hold decision-making or selection positions with the power to hire and/or promote directors. If men really want to be involved in the equality cause, all the processes will very likely speed up.


note) Seeing is Believing: Exposure to Counter stereotypic Women Leaders and its Effect on the Malleability of Automatic Gender Stereotyping.