Magdalena Andersson has become the first female Prime Minister of Sweden.
But she is among the minority: there are only five other women leading their countries in the European Union: Sanna Marin from Finland; Kaja Kallas from Estonia; Ingrida Šimonytė from Lithuania; Mette Frederiksen from Denmark and Angela Merkel from Germany.
Merkel has been acting in a provisional capacity since the September elections, first becoming Chancellor of Germany in 2005.
The 67-year-old, Europe’s longest-serving European leader, will be replaced by Olaf Scholz in early December.
To mark Andersson’s rise to power, here’s a look at women in positions of political power across Europe.
Current women leaders
These are considered the leaders who have the most executive power, be it president or prime minister, and who therefore attend the EU Council of Leaders.
Outside the EU, women occupy the highest positions in three other European countries. They are the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, the Prime Minister of Moldova, Natalia Gavrilita, and the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic.
The European Commission is also headed by a woman, President Ursula von der Leyen.
Eleven other countries in Europe have had women leaders when they took office with more executive power.
For example, France has had a prime minister, but the most powerful position, that of president, has never been held by a woman.
The second longest-serving European leader after Merkel is Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, who was in power for 11 years between 1979 and 1990.
Meanwhile, Vassiliki Thanou had the shortest stint at just 25 days as Greece’s acting prime minister between August and September 2015.
Women in parliament
In the 27 EU member states, an average of 32.7% of parliamentary seats are held by women, so not even a third.
There is not a single country where women represent the majority of legislators, although Sweden is close to parity with 49.6% of its parliament occupied by women.
Its Nordic neighbors, Finland and Noway, are also among the countries where women make up more than 40% of parliamentarians. Women also represent 40.4% of the seats in the EU parliament.
Liechtenstein has the lowest proportion of women MPs at just 12%. Hungary and Malta also have less than 15% of their parliamentary seats held by women.
Women in Ministerial Positions
Unlike parliaments, women made up the majority of the four EU governments in 2020, according to Eurostat.
These are Finland and Sweden with 54.5% and 52.2% of their respective ministerial positions held by women, as well as France and neighboring Belgium with shares of 51.2% and 50.0%.
On average, women held less than a third of ministerial positions across the bloc.
Malta had the fewest number of women in its government and women accounted for just 7.7% of the country’s top jobs.
Greece and Estonia completed the bottom trio with only 11.3% and 13.3% female ministers.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism