Public sector still struggling with leadership inequality

70 percent of bosses in public sector are men

The equality minister, Eva Kjer Hansen, has called for new gender equality measures following the release of a new report that shows considerable inequality in public sector leadership.

The report (here in Danish), which is published biennially and includes all state institutions that have more than 50 employees, showed that while 70 percent of all public sector employees are women, just 30 percent of those in public sector leadership positions are women. In comparison, the share in the private sector is 38 percent.

“I think it calls for a little introspection in the public sector. We are so busy hounding the private sector for not having enough women in leadership positions, but the reality is that it’s worse in the public sector, which employs far more women. Why are they not reaching the top leadership positions?” posed Hansen.

READ MORE: Denmark among top EU nations for gender equality

Stagnation of state
Another issue that has perplexed Hansen is that the municipalities openly admit to not overly prioritising gender equality when it comes to recruiting leadership candidates.

The figures revealed that just 8 percent of the municipalities highly prioritised gender equality in their recruitment of leaders, and 41 percent either didn’t work on it at all or did so minimally. That has resulted in a meagre 2 percent increase in women in public sector leadership positions since 2015.

“It’s not very odd that nothing is happening when so many municipalities openly disregard gender equality in leadership,” said Hansen.

“It tells me that the time has come for rethinking the equality protocols. We need something smoother and there needs to be more focus on where we want to end up and how the results can be documented. We are dealing with large places of work with many educated and qualified women. As a society, we can’t afford to not utilise all out talents.”