Only four women in Europe lead a country

David Cameron has left Downing Street. Theresa May, former home secretary, is officially the new prime minister of the United Kingdom. Only three other women lead a country in Europe: Merkel in Germany, Grybauskaitė in Lithuania and Szydło in Poland.

The weeks following Brexit have significantly changed the political balance in the United Kingdom. The day after the leave victory a series of event contributed to a completely new scenario: David Cameron resigned, Nigel Farage quit as Ukip leader and Boris Johnson decided to not run for the Tory leadership. Three episodes that eventually brought Theresa May to be the new head of the conservative party, and to become the second women after Margaret Thatcher to rule the country.

We recently dealt with the issue of women in power in our MiniDosser “Trova l’intrusa“, published in march. Two aspects were the most intriguing. If one one side the presence of women in political institution has grown in recent years, on the other gender equality is still a utopia. Basically there are more women in politics, but very few of them are in decision making roles.

With Theresa May there are now four women leading a country in Europe. Because of the different forms of government, this position can be either held by the head of state or the head of government. Similarly to Theresa May, also Angela Merkel in Germany and Beata Szydło in Poland lead their national governments, while in Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė has been president since 2009. The percentage of women leading a european country has increased, going from 10% to 14%. With Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom is the only country in Europe in which both the head of state and the prime minister are women.