Charles Michel appears to take Von der Leyen's chair
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German MEPs have challenged the European Institute for Gender Equality to “practice what it preaches” and respect the bloc’s recent gender reforms drive. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed that her team of top eurocrats would comprise of an equal number of men and women. But Express.co.uk can reveal the EU’s gender equality agency has not followed the same principles when hiring its staff.
AfD MEPs Nicolaus Fest and Christine Anderson forced the European Commission to reveal that 76 percent of EIGE employees are in fact women.
In the information provided to this website by the European MEPs, it also showed that 75 percent of the body’s managers were also women.
The EIGIE, which vows to “make equality between women and men a reality for all Europeans and beyond”, costs EU taxpayers some £6.8million each year.
After exposing the gender gap, Ms Anderson told Express.co.uk: “Considering that the EIGE costs the taxpayer around €8million a year, it’s quite remarkable that it cannot follow the most basic principle of practicing what it preaches.
“How can anyone take the EU seriously on the issues of gender equality now?
“This revelation will undoubtably be a huge embarrassment for the European Institutions.”
Fellow German MEP Mr Fest added: “Despite being warned on numerous occasions to lead by example, it’s clear that the EIGE is not in favour of gender equality but rather promoting and advancing a radical feminist agenda.
“It’s truly astonishing that an EU body supposedly devoted to gender equality refuses to implement its own principles.”
The pair had wrote to the Commission to demand answers over gender equality at EIGE.
They called on the EU’s Brussels-based executive to take action against the body to fix the discrepancy.
In response, EU commissioner for equality Helena Dalli said: “In line with the commitments set out in its Gender Equality Strategy 2020-20252, the Commission monitors gender equality in management in the EU agencies.
“In this context, EIGE was encouraged on several occasions to increase efforts towards improving gender balance and, more generally, to lead by example as the Agency in charge of gender equality.”
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But the Maltese eurocrat conceded that the agency is more focused on “countering women’s overall underrepresentation in management positions”.
She claimed that women just hold 19.3 percent of the executive positions in the largest listed companies in the EU.
Mrs von der Leyen has claimed to have already battled sexism while operating as the bloc’s most senior official.
In April, she blamed sexism after her male peers grabbed the only two seats available – before they discussed women’s rights.
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Footage of the event showed how she was left standing and uttered “ahem” as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of the European Council Charles Michel sat down.
Neither offered her their chair. Instead, Ms von der Leyen perched on a sofa during talks on Turkey’s relations with the EU, including Erdogan’s decision to withdraw from a treaty protecting women’s rights.
Speaking about her so-called “sofagate” humiliation, the EU Commission boss said: “I cannot find any justification for how I was treated … so I have to conclude that it happened because I am a woman.
“I felt hurt, and I felt alone as a woman and as a European.”
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